Wednesday 30 September 2015

Knitting for Grown Ups.

One of the things I decided to do this year was to extend my "knitting" repertoire beyond garter stitch blankets and to learn to read a pattern without running to my Mummy every time I couldn't fathom the instructions. I am, after all, quite a big girl these days and technically capable of thinking for myself.

I have achieved both my aims. So far though I have yet to dip my toe in the deep waters of "useful, wearable garments" instead I have knitted what has taken my fancy which has resulted in this fellow who I've shown before- Percy Pendragon, Gargoyle Esq

And now this- the pattern is here for anyone overwhelmed by the urge to create their own!

Tuesday 29 September 2015

A Pied.

As a reluctantish plodder, I have good friends who are proper runners- half/full marathon types and others, who like me, go out for a gentle pootle, but are not super fans. Chatting to a proper running friend we were discussing the differences in attitude- she loves running in the country whereas I would always rather walk. One of the major differences we found is that it was just down to the race/speed issues but in my case, I want to be able to drink in my surroundings and stop and smell the roses. With jogging I don't get that- I am simply focused on getting round the course which is why I always run the same route. I love learning about why others do the things they do and what makes them tick. Had I run on Sunday I'd have missed these little quirky treats which I encountered on our stroll over to start the scarecrow trail.


Monday 28 September 2015


Mawkins- the Sussex name for scarecrow. Known by various other names elsewhere in the UK including Tattie Bogle [Scotland], Mommet [Somerset] and Hodmedod [Berks] they are first recorded 3000 years ago in Egypt as the farmers built wooden frames covered in net which they hid underneath to scare the quail off their crops. Figures appear from Grecian times in the form of wooden figures carved to look like the ugly son of Dionysus and Aphrodite, Priapus. Here in Europe the Italians rammed skulls on the top of sticks, the Germans built witches believing that they would draw the evil spirits of Winter to them and encourage the return of Spring, whilst we here filled sacks with straw with a carved turnip set on top for the head.

Nowadays the battle between the farmer protecting his crops and the avian flocks intent on eating his crops continues. Set against this background though a new trend for decorating scarecrows as part of a community led activity has emerged. These ones are merely decorative and in the quintessentially British way, often firmly tongue in cheek- they are not intended to be pressed into action, only to amuse those who view them. Ever being one keen to support local free events we followed one such trail yesterday. Although in a local village, it's within spitting distance of our abode, so we took advantage of the clement conditions and pottered over. Being ever the sophisticated soul I am [not] I was like a big kid- loved it.

This won first prize- Who you gonna call?

A certain bear who's rather partial to marmalade sandwich

The Wizard of Oz featured in several examples

Now a track which will drive you quite potty I am sure- the smurfs.

Pow. Batman no less.

This one is in reference to the Family of Blood episode when the heavenly David Tennant was still the Doctor.

Finally my personal favourite- Audrey Hepburn as you have never quite seen her before and yes, that is a Tiffany's bag she is holding.


Sunday 27 September 2015

Buttoned Up

Warning- if you suffer from koumpounophobia please look away now!

Working for a wide range of clients as I do in my capacity as a housesparkling elf it throws up many surprises. I am very lucky because they are a lovely bunch [I left the only person who I didn't like very quickly when they kept trying not to pay me!] and in turn, I try to be flexible by doing as much as possible within my remit. They expect a high standard of me and I do my absolute best to meet that but they also regularly misbehave and spoil me. I guess it's a case that when you have cleaned for the same people over a period of time [some I've now been with for three years when from when I first started up] you form a rapport with them.

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to help with some decluttering which is something I've done before for this lady. This time we sorted out her Granny's sewing box and she gave me these.

Inside were buttons. Many are regular ones removed thriftily from old clothes which have been added to my own small collection but contained within were also these more special ones. The booklet is a Victorian embroidery guide. I'm now thinking that some of the patterns have great potential for a dollshouse cross stitch rug.

Over the years I've had a go at making buttons a couple of times. These are the instructions for making wooden ones out of mistletoe from an uncopyrighted blog I tried with some dried out buddleia dried stems but they split. Need to try them with a hard wood next time. I have also had a crack at making these Dorset buttons in the past- they are fiddly but very pretty With my new challenge starting shortly these may be skills worth resurrecting. I have formed a modest plan for an upcycle on a jumper I was given last year so if it's any good I shall share.


Saturday 26 September 2015


My recent trip to Norwich Cathedral and the sighting of Mr Gooding's memorial;postID=8482560597047717823;onPublishedMenu=posts;onClosedMenu=posts;postNum=11;src=link has reminded me of the curious and wonderfully macabre carvings on a series of 17th gravestones inside the cathedral in Kirkwall which were taken up from the nave when renovations were carried out. They were rather partial to a skull or three. Frustratingly I don't understand them beyond knowing they are symbols of death, but it has got me intrigued so I want to find out more. I think they are stunning and I much prefer them to the sentimental Victorian puttos I'm more familiar with.

And on that happy note have a good Saturday one and all!!

Friday 25 September 2015

Quote for a Friday.

Time for me to let someone far wiser do the talking for a change. Took a great deal of comfort and renewed enthusiasm from these this week and am undertaking a new challenge from next week. Will update very soon.

"We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop."
Mother Teresa


Thursday 24 September 2015

Squashed Fruitfulness

Love the Autumn and all the foraging and harvesting opportunities. Since last month I've made a batch of apple butter, Mr GBT has started off elderflower [they were frozen] and blackberry wines, we've blanched runner beans and this last weekend we turned our home grown raspberries into lots of jam. I wish I could show you lovely photos of Martha Stewart style preserves in jars decorated with beautiful labels and tied with gingham ribbons. Unfortunately I fall far short in real life and am far too idle. Nobody needs to see old Tesco jars still with the labels on do they now!!

Our little apple tree has been a star and produced 12 delicious apples all of which have now been consumed. We've also been lucky with good harvests of onions, courgettes, beans and the promise of goodly sized leeks. Not all came up rosy in the garden though. We planted butternut squash again which have been successful in previous years but for some unknown reason, despite keeping them off the ground, all bar one rotted. No matter though. Defeated moi? Nope. I took the one I did have and made the following from it. Nowt goes to waste 'ere at Gnat Bottomed Towers me hearties I can assure you!

Spicy Squash Pizza

800g butternut squash
2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp Tabasco
1.5 tsp rosemary [we used fresh from our bush which we stripped off the stalks and sprinkled over]
garlic pizza base [you could of course make your own but me an dough don't mix- believe you me it's a nightmare scenario!]
100g cheddar grated

Chop squash flesh into 1cm cubes. Cover with oil and season. Roast 30 mins 220C. Put squash onto the pizza base. Sprinkle over the rosemary and Tabasco and cover with cheese. Bake 6-8 mins or until the pizza base is done.

Another one my carnivorous chaps down with indecent haste.


Wednesday 23 September 2015

Local Yokels On A Sunday Stroll

After a weekend at home spent doing Useful Things- lots of baking, jam making, mending and making [is it not perfectly normal to spend one's time knitting a dishcloth with a skull on?!!], Park Run and a Mabon celebration with chums we decided to stick our boots on and head off out of our front door to see what we could see. An hour and a 99 with a flake no less [oh yes I like to live dangerously] later we returned refreshed. A few snaps of what we encountered for your delectation.

As we pootled along the residential streets near to our home I enjoyed the peeks it gave me into people's lives as I was able to view their front gardens. I love to theorise about who lives in these homes by how they choose to decorate the outside. One lady had a small china cat surrounded by plastic spiders and toy mice on her windowsill. I hasten to add this was outside- I was not peering through windows. This one I rather liked.

We also encountered two chaps restoring a couple of vintage cars. They were very gracious and gave us permission to take photos.

There are still plenty of flowers in bloom. I'm a sucker for a big blousey dahlia but it was a refreshing change to see the blue border in our local park when everything is turning to Autumnal hues. The local council had scraped away the grass and sprinkled seed over the bare patches which, to be frank, did not look in the least bit promising a few weeks ago but I am delighted to be proved wrong. I noticed them when I was slogging around for the Park Run the day before and took Mr GBT back to see them.

The wheel is definitely turning and the seasonal tints appearing. The red garlands of ivy are festooned across a wall in a small public space just yards away from our home as the buzzard circled ahead.

Local and lovely- just perfect.


Tuesday 22 September 2015

Norfolk Dumpling Part Two- Foliate Heads

All from the cloisters and miserichords at Norwich Cathedral. Result One Happy Druid!


Monday 21 September 2015

Alban Elfed

Blessings of the season to all those who celebrate the old ways. Hope you enjoy the haunting beauty of Mabon by Omnia.


Sunday 20 September 2015

You've Been Reframed!

Frankly I can't recall the last time I bought a new picture frame as over the last few years one of our local charity shops has proved to be an absolute minefield. Discussions over the last few weeks about the many lovely photos Mr GBT takes [I think anyway] which are stored on the computer led us to decide to print some of them out and hang them up. I suggested ones marking the seasons would be rather splendid and now they're on show in our hallway. Three didn't need any attention save for recycling the original picture but one had a rather groovy floral design going on which definitely wasn't my taste so it was sprayed black.

Hope you enjoy the romp around the natural year.


That was the week that was.

I'm a touch staggered to find that it's been a week since I last dropped in. Usually such an absence is down to me being away, but t...