Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Busy Betsy is developing green fingers

After years of picking up gardening books I am finally getting my hands dirty in the garden. Still very cautious, and I clearly haven't read enough books on the matter but at least I have made a start. The last few days I have been cutting back quite a bit, very carefully though because last year I cut back too much of the orange blossom and I've only got half of it left now.

I've always loved picking wildlife flowers but cutting flowers from the garden comes a close second and this little bouquet of roses cheered up my bedroom this morning.

I hate to mention it but with some of the cuttings I made the base of the first Christmas wreaths. They were highly praised last year so I am hoping for another good result this festive season. 

The monkeys and I then planted some seeds and we are now awaiting the first signs of :

spring onions
runner beans
and mint 

I am hopeful because remember these?

All of them have now turned into lovely strawberry plants!

I picked up some little herb tips from  Joe  Swift's book Joe's Allotment. I'd better read on, I wouldn't mind growing my own vegetables too!

Monday, 25 May 2009

Holiday Baking

I am planning ahead.  Although I haven't finished all the projects that I had hoped I would I am already planning girl monkey's birthday party which is at least 3 months away. I think she is so keen because her little brother just had his party and she is not one to stay behind. In that spirit we bought some new cake books. 

We baked some little cupcakes with cream cheese and lemon icing....

... and one bigger one for the neighbours. 

I promised girl monkey to serve mocktails on her birthday so we will be trying these out soon too!

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Keep Calm and Carry On

Keep Calm and Carry On..... What else is there to say? If there would be a slogan for me for 2009 this would be it. It's taken pride of place in my humble abode.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

The way to a little and a big man's heart

Little men, I've concluded are easily pleased. Boy monkey got more presents again today and he just loved the gift wrap alone. I really liked the wrapping of this one, a gift from his buddy, who looked really pleased when I told him these were my favourite colours. 

Big men, a different cup of tea altogether; are we all in agreement? Anyway, as I was doing some gift shopping today for my brother on the other side of the pond I stumbled upon some useful household items. All brightly coloured to cheer up my day and I really still need cheering up. I was always told a way to a man's heart was by cooking fabulous meals (let me tell you it didn't work and really nothing to do with my cooking!) but my mother told me recently that a way to keep a man is to keep a tidy and clean house. Now I was never up for homemaker of the year but with my lovely new tools I might give it another try next round....

Monday, 18 May 2009

Mini Surrealists

As promised in my previous blog here are the images from the Mini Masters Surrealist session. The little ones were introduced to Meret Oppenheim's Object, a fur covered cup and saucer from 1936, currently in the MOMA, New York.  
We had talked about Surrealism before and although it is a fabulous topic with some great images for children it isn't all that easy to explain to three and four year olds. However Oppenheim's work is a great starter for toddlers and we had good fun transforming these cups and saucers into something surreal. When I said that once covered the cup couldn't be used anymore one little boy was very disappointed. We quickly said to him that he could put his marbles in it and he was all smiles again!

The lady at the charity shop looked most confused when I told her the lovely tea set wasn't going to be used for drinking but would be covered in fur!

Yesterday boy monkey had a go-karting party and he came back with a bag full of fabulous boys' presents. One of them made me laugh. His Ben10 Alien Force DNA Heroe came with great instructions. For some reason I read the line in Dutch, don't know why as I never read the Dutch part in manuals, however I am glad I did. It said : create a powder wave by holding the figure upside down! Stupidly I looked at it again, then realised that the translator had looked up the wrong word in the book : 'power surge' got translated into 'powder wave'! It would have been fun to have an alien hero dispensing some lovely scented talcum powder...

Friday, 15 May 2009

Busy Betsy's week of fun

It has been a fabulous week of fun! It all started at Grado's where we were entertained by Paul Heathcote and enjoyed lovely wines and tapas. My favourite was a Pedro Ximenez Sherry, I couldn't get enough of it. Thankfully I haven't found it in the shops yet!.

The fun then continued on my birthday. I was unbelievably spoiled by friends and family, eating great food all day long and in the best places in town. The monkeys had prepared the most delicious breakfast for me (with instructions on a napkin from Mr Betsy) and made sure I will smell nice for the rest of the year with a great Happy Bathday box. Some of the bath balls look so nice it is almost a shame to use them. 

Thank you all for sending me lovely cards. Most of them were in a shade of pink, now that's telling. 

I had great fun putting together the costumes for the play Fencing for Losers. An absolute must-see play that will be staged in Buxton and Didsbury over the next few weeks. 

Today I spent some time in Macclesfield in a lovely yarn shop called Button & Skein. Just the type of shop that I would love to own myself. I only walked in to have a look around and introduce myself (and my work of course) but couldn't help myself buying a lovely kit to make a skirt for girl monkey. You might think why I would want to buy a kit but the pattern and the colours were really beautiful and I thought perhaps she could help me make it as the kit is so easy to follow. 

One thing I didn't enjoy so much this week is getting my online stalker of my back (yes you know who you are). I do not understand why a random stranger who does not appear to have the same interests is becoming so obsessive but I guess some people do not have anything better to do. 
Anyway tomorrow is going to be a busy day, can't tell what I am going to do just in case the stalker might like to come along...

I did do some work this week, made a new range of "My Little Shopping Bags" and introduced the Mini Masters to Meret Oppenheim's work. More about that another time. It is time for a bath ball now. 

Monday, 4 May 2009

The future is Orange 2

I realise I have used this expression on several occasions in the past few months but it seems fitting somehow to entitle this blog post this way. 
Last Thursday started as any happy day, the sun was shining and the monkeys and I were excited to celebrate "Queen's Day". A tribute day to the former Queen, Juliana's birthday is celebrated throughout the country. For a nation so down to earth it is amazing to see everyone go mad, dressed mainly in orange, wearing orange wigs, even dressing up dogs and lamp posts!
A fabulous article on Etsy shows just some examples of this. 

As every year, girl monkey had orange hair clips and a red, white and blue ribbon in her hair and I made sure we had some orange food to eat that day.

However later on my brother called to say that not only had mum been taken to hospital, there had been an alleged attack on the Royal family by some loser who drove his car through the crowd, thereby killing and injuring several people and causing a huge amount of grief and shock for many. I am still in shock that this happened. More on this in this article

On another note today the monkeys and I took a friend to Brookside Garden Centre in Poynton. A lovely place for all your gardening and craft needs but more importantly it has these lovely little railway trains that take you round the centre for a small fee. Boy monkey was glowing as we drove through the tunnels, faces hidden by steam and seeing all the old signs. It is lovely and quaint and will not fail to please young and old. We might go back again next week!