Tuesday 30 December 2008


I don't usually do much cooking. I am lucky enough to live with Andy who does lots and is pretty good at it too! I am prone to burn things and to forget they are cooking at all-which is maybe why they burn. These star cutters are designed to make a Christmas cake-you make a biscuit of each size and then pile them up and ice them. It looks very pretty on the tin but I have not tried it. They are the only cutters I have got so I used a medium one to cut out some stars. They are cut from flattened (with a rolling pin) white bread though I am sure any bread would do.
The cling film (Saran?) is to roll the bread in between. Next you brush each side of the shapes with a little melted butter-I melted far too much. Then cook them for about ten minutes in a moderate oven(whatever that means-I put them on about 180C) They go nice and crispy. Then put whatever filling you fancy in. I was just trying them out and so put what I had in-a weird mixture of guacamole and smoked salmon-quite tasty. The woman who I saw on a cookery programme doing them had some kind of avocado and smoked trout mixture. I would tell you her name but I can't remember it-she is blonde, Irish and pretty and called Rachel something.
I was going to make them anyway but I made an effort to make them look pretty so I could take photos!

Monday 29 December 2008

Wednesday 24 December 2008

Happy Christmas!

Tuesday 23 December 2008

Ghosts at Christmas

The dolls have gathered for story telling around the tree, in an attempt to be a bit Victorian and not watch so much telly. They particularly like ghost stories, and so have invited ghost candle, left over from Halloween. One of my favourite ghost stories is this truly terrifying one. One of the most scary parts is when it moves in his hand. I am shivering now just thinking about it.
Ghost candle burned only briefly, as he was going down at an alarming rate.
I also like this story by Charles Dickens.

The ghostly head likes it too!
We're not scared. Oh no.
Koji Suzuki is another favourite-especially "Dark Water"

Do you like a scary tale? What are your favourites?
I got a big book of Victorian ghost stories out of the library today and am off now to have a read.

Monday 22 December 2008

Greyfriar's Bobby

I am quite a sentimental person I think and I love a good weepy story. One such story is that of Greyfriar's Bobby, the little Skye terrier who guarded his master John Gray's grave for 14 years after his death in 1858. There is a great old film about it which I could not find any reference to on youtube and there also seems to be a modern one. I recently bought a children's book by Ruth Brown, telling the story, with beautiful illustrations.
We were up in Edinburgh this weekend visiting Andy's parents Jean and Ian, and we visited Greyfriar's Churchyard. I like it in there-it is very atmospheric and creepy with plenty of great tombs with skulls and cherubs.

Wednesday 17 December 2008

Doll, Dolls, Bob and Christmas Presents

This is my Yule swap doll that went to Barb in Colorado, Mother of Laume. She sent me some lovely photos today-she keeps certain Christmassy things out all year so the doll may not have to ever live in a box again! These are heads from some more paper dolls I am making-I liked the heads all together. I love using pen and ink but I always get an inky finger, like some overworked clerk from Dickens.
Can he fix it? Obviously not. This poor Bob is outside my local Sainsbury's and made me smile yesterday.
This little tube of toothpaste with his massive brush is here to illustrate something that made me smile today. I went to the office to pay my dinner money for Christmas dinner tomorrow. Ann, one of the ladies working in the office, showed me one of her presents from the children. A pack containing toothbrush, paste and mouthwash! Hmmm.

(I think this picture is a bit weird in that he is not showing his teeth!)
If anyone else would like one of the tiny dolls in my last post, let me know by email.
Nearly the weekend! Nearly the holiday!

Monday 15 December 2008

Tiny Dolls

I was very pleased and excited to receive an email on Saturday morning, informing me of a pending payment for an etsy sale. I have now made three sales! These two paper dolls and their tiny friend are on their way to Rachel in California. I queued for 30 minutes at the post office this lunch time, especially to post them! There was a lovely golden retriever waiting patiently outside the P.O. with very pretty eyelashes and the queue was orderly. The post office in question has a very good selection of greetings cards so at least there was something to read while I waited.
A photocopy of another paper doll to liven up the packaging. That is my attempt at a business card that she is holding!The tiny doll on the right has already gone and hopefully is on my friend Sarah's Christmas tree in Holland.I only had two tiny dolls and fancied making lots more. I have this beautiful box of pastels which was another great find on Greenwich market-it is like a luxury box of chocolates, but of colour. It has two layers!
Here are all their little legs, inked and pasteled, waiting to be sprayed.
The tiny doll crowd waiting to be connected to their legs.
Tiny doll 1
Tiny doll 2
Tiny doll 3
Tiny doll 4
Tiny doll 5
the projectivist had the idea that I should ask people to name some of my dolls. I like this idea and am going to try it out on the tiny dolls while the bigger dolls are still being finished. You could name one or all of them-or none-it's up to you!

Picture To Show Judy

This is the painting I was talking about Judy. She's lounging around on a sunny, rose scented afternoon with cats in the vicinity and a good book. What more could she ask?! Oh-I know-a drink and some delicious fruit! This was one of my paintings for the Suzi Blu Petite Dolls course. It was fun to do-especially the beeswax on top-so luscious to use and polish!
Look on Judy's post of November 16th to see what on earth I am talking about!

Saturday 13 December 2008

Candace's Christmas Questions

These questions can be found on EYECANDY, the blog of my friend Candace. She got it from Velvet Ginger here Here are my answers-I would love to see yours!

1. 'Tis the Season to be? Tired!
2. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Newspaper with sequin ribbon and handmade gift tags. I have had to be careful which parts of the paper I use though-don't want to depress people on Christmas morning!
3. Real tree or Artificial? Real. Every year I toy with the idea of a fake tree but just can't bring myself to do it. I also don't fancy building the tree each year.
4. When do you put up the tree? Usually the first weekend of December.
5. When do you take the tree down? 31st December.
6. Do you like eggnog? I like the idea of eggnog.
7. Favorite gift received as a child? It was always the little things in my stocking-the felt tip pens in the shape of mice and the tiny boxes. I also remember 'The Vogue Book of Beauty' from my Aunt Valerie which I found fascinating at the time!
8. Hardest person to buy for? My Dad-no, my brother! This year I have bought him a little fleece bunny from Etsy with 'Crap Bunny' embroidered on it. He will love it.
9.Easiest person to buy for? My sister in law Helen-I hope she would agree!
10. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes-a flat one.
11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail.
12. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I wouldn't like to say-also I can't remember! I think I like all my presents!
13. Favorite Christmas Movie? The Story Lady-a made for tv film we saw a few years ago-it's great! Also quite like 'Bad Santa'.
14. When do you start shopping for Christmas? June (ha ha ha! I might buy one in June and think I have started-until it is December and I still only have one!)
15. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? No.
16. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? The full works Christmas dinner, especially the little sausages wrapped in bacon, the brussels sprouts and the pudding.
17. Lights on the tree? Yes-my favourite part!
18. Favorite Christmas song? 'Oh Little Town of Bethlehem'.
19. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Travel to my Mum's.
20. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? No!
21. Angel on the tree top or a star? Paper angel from a template at school a few years ago.
22. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning.
23. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Crowds!
24. Favorite ornament theme or color? It's a complete mixture-I like to buy one new thing a year-this year it was some Christmas robots which I have just remembered. I love glass ornaments.
25. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Pudding, brussels-not in that order!
26. What do you want for Christmas this year? My two front teeth.
27. Who is most likely to respond to this? Liz (I hope!) Thanks Liz!

Magical Yule Swap

This is my magical yule swap present from Laume. A pretty, sparkly fairy tree with two tiny handmade fairies, a white winter bird, a golden sun and other small twinkly details. I love it! Thanks Laume!

Tuesday 9 December 2008

Oliver Postgate

Oliver Postgate died today, and I wanted to put my own little tribute here. He was an amazing inventor, story teller and film maker who made some of the best children's programmes ever. He had a lovely comforting voice with which he narrated his stories. He formed a company called Smallfilms with Peter Firmin. They got into animation in a roundabout way and invented their own methods of doing everything. They were constantly running up against problems and solving them in ingenious ways. The stories are funny, many layered and beautifully illustrated with drawings, and collections of the most amazing handmade toys. They are the best type of children's stories as they are easy to understand on a simple level but also have more to them and are never patronising. They are also accompanied by beautiful music.

Oliver Postgate with Peter Firmin

I really recommend getting to know them if you don't already and I also recommend his Autobiography "Seeing Things".

So, some of the stars of the shows...
The Clangers

BagpussNoggin the Nog

There are many more-The Pingwings, Ivor The Engine and the Pogles of Pogles' Wood.