Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cleaning the Telephone Exchange

I know, cleaning the telephone exchange; well that's what, what has come to be known as The Boy's Room, is like. Two very tall speakers, a tele, not flat screen, but hooked up for surround sound, X Box and a computer. There are wires running everywhere, so needless to say it is not my favourite room to clean. They cling along the skirting board in bundles, run under the big rug, behind the sofa, under the desk. It is not a straight forward run the vacuum cleaner around. So this room has been seeing a lick and a promise for a long while and needed a good old clean. Today was the day and I got stuck in to do it.

First of all I took out the old computer, which has not worked for many years, but has been on hubby's list to work on; out. Although we took out the hard drives, to use as auxiliary back up, when my laptop caught a virus. I also took the monitor out. It was a large old style one, that quite often turned to shades of pink. Both these items are in the basement, waiting for further thought as to what we want to do with them.

This room cannot be cleaned properly unless you are on your hands and knees, with a bucket of soapy water and a cloth, that's why it does not get done too often.

I still have to do some more cleaning in there, windows and fan. But at least I'm feeling good about my day's efforts.

All the roman blinds need re-stringing, so need to get string for that too.


Monday, December 29, 2008

Lil Bit Brit and Teatime Musing

Well I've been playing around and came up with this new header, using many photos you have seen in my Lil Bit Brit Blog. I pulled out photos which I thought fitted Teatime Musing. Views of distant relatives in far away places. A teatime picnic and tea at the railway restaurant in New Zealand. Along with some views from my home.

Bell Tea Company

What a delightful website for Bell Tea Company here in New Zealand, it appeals to me. They seem to have been in business a long while. Are they well known in New Zealand? Maybe some New Zealand readers can let me know.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Lil Bit Brit's New Image

What do you think of my Lil Bit Brit logo and design? My friend J a graphic artist worked on this design which I came across along with the name I thought of, but which J developed the type logo for me. I love it. I'm thinking of taking the needle out and just having Lil Bit Brit with the image. I want to do some business cards, and also some cloth labels.

I'll never forget, Rob was less than two, we were on holiday in England driving down a small country lane and a UPS truck passed us at the crossroads. Now Rob couldn't read then, but the visual image is powerful, he said UPS. Another time he saw the Coca Cola logo and chanted that too. Both when very young, the power of corporate branding.

Now I'm no corporation but I do like the little image. When you find what you like yippee!!!


Teatime Stops Us Being Slaves To Time?

Taking time for tea, or teatime, gives us the opportunity to stop and slow down, without guilt. I'm glad I grew up with such a custom. It gives you time to reflect and not be a slave to the frantic pace of live.
We often try to fit in too much in an allotted period of time and feel guilty if we sit down for a moment, but taking time for tea, or teatime makes us sit down, reflect and appreciate what is good in our lives.

-->Steam rises from a cup of tea
and we are wrapped in history,
inhaling ancient times and lands,
comfort of ages in our hands.
~Faith Greenbowl

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Thrift Finds, Eastern Bluebird Plates & Icing Kit

The thrift shop moved and now it's even closer to my house than it used to be and it wasn't too far away before.

I like these plates which are hand painted and looks to be an Eastern Bluebird. Yes two again to share with a friend.

I love vintage kitchen wear and kitchen tools, so when I found this old icing set made in the USA and in it's original box, it was a must have.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

This is a very easy recipe, may not look so good in my photo, but it tastes good, served warm with whipped cream or ice cream.
  • 5 cups of bread, cubed (half a Baguette or Challah, or a nice hearty bread)
  • 2 cups of half-and half
  • 3 large eggs, well beaten
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 stick melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  1. Butter an 11 x 7 inch baking dish. fill with cubed bread
  2. Heat oven to 350 f
  3. Combine all remaining ingredients and pour over bread
  4. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, cover with foil and then bake for 45 minutes. Uncover, bake an additional 5 minutes
  5. Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream or whipped cream. Feel free to embellish this recipe with dried cranberries, raisins, nuts or candied ginger.

Korean Bar-b-que, Village Shopping

A couple of weekends ago we decided that we needed an afternoon out. We wanted to go out to eat and ran across a Korean Restaurant. Outside they were offering bar-b-que. I think the boys were thinking more of a typical American bar-b-que, but they stuck with it and we tried our first Korean bar-b-que, where they cooked steak and shrimp at the table. We wrapped them up in lettuce leaves with all the other little side dishes, we had fun. It was a new experience for us.

From there we went on to a shopping village, nothing like an English Village, but still fun. Rob saw one of those Siberian type fur hats, although this one had some fur with mostly corduroy. It keeps him nice and warm in the mornings as he waits for the school bus. I would not have bought it for him, because I would never had thought he would wear it, but he does.

We stopped at a coffee shop and bought two different large coffees to share and we later stopped at a bakery for cannolies It was a nice day out as a family.

The Cousins, Aldeburgh Beach

This is a few years ago when Dear Boy was little. We went with my mum, sister and her boys to Aldeburgh, Suffolk, in the month of March. The boys wanted to spend time on the beach and needless to say a big wave came up and caught the boy and so we had to re-dress him. With a knitted Aran waistcoast from my mum, plus the lining of her coat and a pink scarf to hold it around him. We visited Oxfam and got him a pair of shoes and some socks and Voila! We took him around town and everyone thought he was in fancy dress. So this is him with his cousin.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

An Affinity With New Zealand

Right from when I was a little girl I knew we had relatives in New Zealand, but being a child it was never explained to me how we were related. One year cousin J. came over to visit. In fact she lived in London for a year I believe. In any case over the holidays she came down to stay with us, I was a little girl then, and I remember it being quite an ordeal to put through a trunk call, as a long distance phone call was called back then, to New Zealand. If my memory serves me, we had to go through the operator, and the operator had to ring as back, which all seems so very old fashioned now. What's an operator?

As I got older and could sort out all the family relationships and ask questions. Cousin J. is my grandmother's half cousin, although nearer in age to my mum's younger sister, who also has the same name.

My great-grandmother's, (that's my mother's mother's mother's) younger half brother and sister J. and M. emigrated to New Zealand, I think just before the first World War. They were both single at the time and both married New Zealanders. In fact the brother's wife had the same name as his sister M. so that made it even more complicated to understand the family relationship. One couple never had children and the other couple just had cousin J. and cousin J. never had children so consequently the New Zealand connection ends there.

I have several things sent back from New Zealand over the years. A Maori bead necklace, an old Constable print, which I think went from England to New Zealand and back again, and a school atlas of New Zealand, which I remember looking at as a child. I always loved looking at maps and things and knowing where countries were, always good at geography, I know, a little different. Maybe that's why I love Blogland.

The photo above is of the Counter Railway Refreshment Rooms, aunt M. is at the center, she either managed the restuarant or maybe owned it, not sure, and I don't know where they were. Looks to be about 1920's era. May have been a little earlier.

The photo above looks like a picnic in the country, but aunt M. marked with an X in the center, says on the back, a Party in the Country, Taihape, North Island. Again no date, but I would say 1920's.
Aunt M. 12th December 1920 is marked on the above photo.

The photo below was taken in 1940 at 45 Uxbridge Road, Howick, Auckland, New Zealand. Aunt M. with her husband F., in their vegetable garden, overlooking the sea. Lovely garden and a beautiful view.

I only have a few photos but thought ones might be interested, especially in New Zealand, which one day I hope to visit.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

In this economy where excess has driven the market and now we are all paying for it. I try to think of my little house in the terms of less is more and one is always trying to come up with more space and organization. So in view of that and to relieve my overflowing linen closet I bought this shelving unit for the bathroom. So now I can keep most of our every day towels here, along with some other bits and pieces which look much better displayed on the unit, than where they were before. My next project is to redecorate the bathroom.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Shepherd's Pie with a twist

This is my Shepherd's Pie, with sweet potato topping.

Cooked mashed sweet potatoes or yams mashed with a little butter

Turkey ground (minced)

Mexican hot sausage, or you may use Italian hot sausage, or any slightly hot sausage you have diced

Carrots grated

Onion diced

If you wish you may add chopped apple also

Salt & Pepper

Saute the onions with a little olive oil, add the minced turkey meat and diced sausage, and brown, add the grated carrot, salt and pepper

Put the above meat mixture into a casserole dish and cover with the sweet potato topping.

Cook for about half and hour at 350f
My boy Rob likes it

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Gillybean's Surprise Gift

This arrived on a weekend. Bo came in with the post, and said, yes a little buy here, a little buy there and now a little somethng from New Zealand and I knew I had not bought anything from New Zealand.

Well of course as soon as he said that I knew it had to be something from Gillybean.

This was in the surprise package. I love the broach and I know exactly what outfit I am going to wear it with. I have already used one of the cards.

So thankyou! thankyou! For a lovely surprise.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sparrows Bathing

My son Rob and a friend dug out the hole and put this pond in for me last year. We tried quite a few fish in it, but after a while they all died. Not sure why, but this year and needing to be thrifty we decided not to bother with fish. But it has turned out to be a little centre for wild life. The squirrels, birds and yes my own cat Tuppy, all like to take a drink from the pond. The other morning there had to be at least 15 sparrows taking a feathery dip, also a squirrel who came along and then decided to have fun, by chasing them off, it was lovely to see. I didn't catch them all there in my photos and my photos aren't too good, taken from a distance and through a window.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Tink and Tupp at the window.

Green Tomato Chutney

After washing, peeling and cutting out bad parts, I had 12 lbs of green tomatoes to make into Green Tomato Chutney. They were the last of my tomatoes and were not going to ripen as they were still on the vine in November.

I made three lots.

The first lot I made with dried red hot peppers, from the market.
In between making the first batch and the second I went out in the garden and saw that some hot peppers I had planted had grown. The second lot I made with three yellow banana hot peppers from my garden. The three hot peppers in this photo I used in the last batch.

I have to tell you about these hot peppers. I washed my hands and then that evening we had pizza. My hands touching the pizza and then the pizza touching my mouth, caused my lips to tingle. I tried not to touch my eyes. My hands started tingling, as if I had been out in the cold and then they were warming up again. Pins and needles. In fact they were like that for almost three days. Getting a little less tingly each day. These hot peppers are quite potent.

Scraps for the compost.

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