Tuesday, 27 April 2010


Hi wonderful and so supportive bloggers

First may I say thank you for all the lovely comments I received on my previous post. You're all great, I am so glad I started this blog.

Secondly thank you and hello to my new followers, many of whom have also left great introductions and comments

I keep being asked if the 'little house' on my blog header is my home .  Well apart from the fact that it would not hold my fabric stash...or I am ashamed to say my wardrobe, I wouldn't mind living in it, but it is only 13 foot by 10 foot, plenty big enough for my summer house...that is the place to lay on the sofa bed reading magazines and drinking wine, but not quite big enough to move in permanently.  It is currently undergoing its bi-annual freshen up and when it is all done, the new flower baskets hung, the winter rubbish removed ( you know all the boxes from the new gadgets you have bought and you daren't throw them away for at least 6 months in case they have to go back!) and the new cushions finished and the chairs repainted.... I will give you an internal tour. I'll even provide cup cakes on my new cakestand and tea from my latest vintage crockery.

Well now to the real reason for this post...

Last week I read a very interesting and thought provoking post by Florence of Flossie teacakes about making Wiggly Bags for children undergoing treatment for cancer.  She included a brilliant photo tutorial written around the pattern supplied by the Liberty Rose Trust.  I had just taken delivery of some very cute fabric from Patch Fabrics and knew there would be some remnants left.  I was interested to hear that there was a real need for bags that teenagers would be happy to wear and since most of my fabrics would appeal more to this age and older I dug out some of my stash and in an evening made these...

Just have to add the cotton tape now and can send them off.  I know one of them is a bit scary, but Goths still rule you know!!

So if you're between projects and like me have masses of fabric scraps do read Florence's post, full details there about the trust and how the bags are used and printable PDF instructions and pattern and perhaps you could make one...or two.....or three....

thanks for listening
Jenny x

Monday, 26 April 2010


Right here goes..

First I would like to say an enormous thankyou to Jo of Muddy Puddle Crafts for awarding me this

I am really thrilled  and am equally in a quandry because I don't have the time to pass it on to 15 other worthy bloggers, and I know of many more than that.  I have been so chuffed that this is the 3rd award I have received in the last couple of weeks and as I was unable to pass the others on I feel, even if I now had the time I couldn't really deal with this one in a different way.

I really do feel bad but there is no point in spoiling the bit of time I have to talk to all you lovely people by getting worked up because I can't do what is expected of me.  I have therefore decided that the only fair thing to say is that I will have to declare myself an award free zone!  Oh dear!! I hope that doesn't make me sound like one of these spoiled 'artistes' who throw back their gongs at award ceremonies for some pretentious reason or other!

I probably wouldn't get any more after this anyway, but they should be given to others who can and will love to pass them on. I do think they are lovely and have their place, everyone likes to be recognised.

So if any of you out there will still speak to me and have a (very nice) button I can put on my blog which wont offend I would be very grateful if you will allow me to use it.

Phew feel better now I've said that and hope you won't all desert me..

Will be back tomorrow with a post about a very worthy cause passed on by Florence of Flossie teacakes a few days ago.

Night all
Jenny x

Sunday, 25 April 2010


What else is a girl to do!
Got up this morning after two days of glorious sunshine, geared up to head for a car boot and return with oodles of goodies and.....Its raining.....Raining in my heart!  Well not quite but certainly putting a damper on the day in more ways than one!

Ok, new plan. Garden centre at place where car boot is supposed to be so head that way and take it from there.

But before I tell you how our day turned out let me take you back to Friday.

Sun blazing down, windows open, birds singing. I am in the garden with lovely book, glass in hand..... stop right there!  No I am up to my elbows in suds, cleaning, washing windows, changing beds.  I think I got it wrong somehow. DH is busy repainting the summerhouse and it looks great but more about that another time.

I am in the garden with lovely book, glass in hand... No this time I am shopping and painting furniture in the back garden!

So Sunday, today, its raining. Why do we women not take our own advise and forget the work when the sun shines!! Will we ever learn, I don't think so.

Well we arrived at the garden centre, the rain was just easing by now, but needless to say the car booters hadnt stayed. You cant blame them. So into the centre to see what else I can spend my money on.


An all wood kitchen at what I can only describe as a ridiculous price!  If only!! If you have seen my earlier posts you will see that my kitchen is of the freestanding variety and I dont normally hanker after a 'fitted' kitchen...but this was so lovely, I'm working on it..

Anyway I digress. we eventually landed up here..

Doddington Hall

We saw lots of these..

Some rather formal bits....

And some lovely natural bits..

We were a day or two early for the full display!

Some exciting nature finds

and I must confess to kitchen garden envy...

There were lots of these....

and even these...

It was definitely not one to be saved for a rainy day....but the sun came out as we emerged from the tour of the house and kept shining until we left.  Of course all this walking, taking in nature and history makes one very hungry so we had to stop off here on the way home..

and my only purchases today..

and yes that is DH in the background doing washing up.. He obviously wants fresh home made bread and lemon curd tomorrow...Wonder if I can broach the subject of that kitchen now.....?

Hope you enjoyed our little tour,
Time to let the camera cool down a little
Jenny x

PS A very kind lady did a post the other day with a Wiggly bag photo tutorial and I forgot to note her name/blog. If you are she or you know who it may have been, can you please email me. Details on my profile.
Thanks J x

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE...the last bit for now.............

Hooray I hear you shout!

I'm sorry if this has been boring for some, but again thank you to those who have shown an interest.  This is the last post about my father's side of the family, although my research will go on.

Well the Isle of Sheppey.... I do have to confess I was rather surprised when I found where we were actually going. Obviously geography is not my strong point as I thought it was off the south coast!! 

Like a lot of seaside places on first impression it looked a bit old and faded, and my sister and I wondered what we had let ourselves in for. However the hotel looked pretty impressive from the outside and we couldnt have been made more welcome when we booked in.
We lost no time in showing the landlord and some of the staff the census forms we had showing various addresses in the hope that at least some of them still remained and were pleasantly surprised to find that one of the staff had lived on Sheppey all her life and not only knew how to direct us but also gave us ideas where we might find more information

Our hotel

Our first port of call was to the High Street where apparently our great grandfather had an Inn. In 1901 it covered no.s 204 to 212, so was quite a size. The land where nos 204 to 208 stood is now the local fire station, but at least the remaining part is still an inn and we were able to have a drink here and talk to the new landlady. She also took us into the back garden to show us a walnut tree which she believes was planted by our great grandfather. She had already gathered the walnuts and insisted we took some with us.

The current Tavern, this was the Castle Inn

The original building covered all of this....

Over 109 years old

Apparently the family owned several pubs on the Isle over the years...umm wondered where this love of wine came from.....but then could it be the rumoured, but not yet proved French connection ?

We toured the town, found other addresses to link with the census finds and finally were directed to the local library and this is where our research really took off.  Apparently a local schoolmaster had decided to index the names of every inhabitant of Sheppey mentioned in the local papers dating back to the early 19th century.
When the librarian brought us the box with our family name we couldn't believe our luck. 13 index cards and 12 were of known relatives, the 13th seemed unfamiliar but we were later able to claim her as well.
The  newspaper entries ranged from obituraries to full page stories and made fascinating reading.
the two most worthy of mention were the full page obit for are you ready......

Edward Jabez Hooker !

What a brilliant name. He died aged 96 and was declared at that time the oldest inhabitant of Sheppey. During his life he was elected  a director of the Sheerness Building  Society, becoming first chairman and then treasurer for more than 25 years in which time he doubled the the societies income, he was a prominent official in the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows and was a volunteer in the old dockyard company. He left 3 sons, one daughter, 18 grandchildren and 22 great grandchildren!

The second is a much sadder tale.. on 20 October 1906 Elizabeth Ida Hooker wife of Walter Hooker (my Great Uncle) tragically died after taking oxalic acid instead of epsom salts.  She was only 32 and left 2 young children.. How dreadful was that.
At the inquest there was a real debate about the labelling of poisons and I think that steps were taken to report the case to the government to have the packaging reviewed, whether it was is another matter.

Well to get this post back on a lighter note ( I hope I haven't depressed you too much), here are some pictures of the lovely beach at Sheerness. Apparently it used to be thronged with well off visitors taking the sea air.

Some lovely old buildings

Another story to follow?.....^
And finally, in one of my previous post I mentioned the cousin I found in Australia. Well only a couple of months after returning from our trip she came to England and we were able to meet up in a wonderful hotel only about 30 miles away.  We spent a whole afternoon and evening with her and her husband and although I know its been said time and again, it really was as if we had always known her. She even looks like us..

 We had a fabulous time. She brought a copy of the front page of the family bible, some lovely photographs to put faces to the names on the birth and marriage certificates and lots of stories of her own ancestry journey.

It has been a wonderful one for me and now I am about to track down my mum's family. Next month I am off to Kent again. I dont think I'll find so much this time as her side were rather more scattered, Kent, London, Wales, France!...... but you never know....!!

Now I'm off to sew to make something lovely I can blog about before I frighten you all away for good.
I hope though that this may have encouraged some of you to trace your own roots.  I never imagined I would ever manage it and it does take time and perseverence but I'm glad I did it.


Jenny x

Tuesday, 20 April 2010


Hi everyone

Hope you are all having a good evening.  I have been chilling after a busy day at work, reading lovely blogs and comments on mine.

I would like to say a big thank you to two lovely people who have passed on awards to me.

They are Sue at Dollytub Cottage

 I am supposed to pass this on to 10 other lovely bloggers, but I have met so many I think I am going to pass on this. I am not ungrateful I am thrilled to receive mine but just can't bear the thought of missing someone out, and  really to pass these on to 17 other people would be a bit of a task. You are all lovely bloggers in your own way...Thats why I follow you all. So thank you again Sue, I really am grateful and will proudly show this on my side banner.

and then there is Kitty of Memoirs of a Vintage Magpie

Again I am not going to pass this on, but will try to list seven things you don't know about me.

1. I trained as a Keep Fit instructor
2. I used to do barge painting, as in canal art, and painted all the trophies for a local 33 mile race along the canal for 3 years running  (pardon the pun)
3. I adore the 1940s era and now attend weekends and have started to collect vintage clothing so that we can join in
4. I love the sea, but don't like swimming
5. I haven't given up meat, but prefer vegetarian food
6. I am potty about roses. I love to fill my house with them
7.  My favourite actresses are Julie Walters and Brenda Blethyn and I buy almost every film they are in.

I hope I am not being too mean, you all deserve awards for entertaining me every day.

Speak again soon

Jenny x

Monday, 19 April 2010


Are you sitting comfortably, Then I'll begin....

Armed with the 1911 census I set out to trace the birth and marriage certificates of my parents and grandparents. I concentrated on dad's side first as it seemed easier to continue with one surname.  It seemed ridiculously easy to start with and it wasn't until I posed a question on one of the ancestry forums that I realised how much I was assuming and not actually proving! However several certificates later and I was back on track with a certain amount of confidence.
Then almost taking a wrong turn, ie following the wrong Ernest (my grandfathers name) I found this chap..

This is my cousin, a couple of times removed but a first cousin non the less.

What a brilliant discovery, such a clever man and an awesome writer.  His book, which I am reading, is full of serious technical stuff but his writing is so entertaining it is not stuffy at all.
Just to whet your appetite.....I know its not so interesting if its someone else's reli, but let me off please. When you think your family is ordinary and mundane it's a thrill to find someone to boast about....anyway the dust cover summarises his work thus.....

Quote' After an emotional break with Rolls Royce Hooker joined the British Aeroplane Company in 1949. Here he tugged a rather reluctant company into the jet age, determined to give real competition to Rolls Royce.  So successful was he that in 1966 Rolls Royce decided the best thing to do was to spend £63.6 million and buy its rival.
By this time there was scarcely a single modern British aero engine for which Hooker had not been responsible. By 1966 his main concerns were the propulsion of the Concorde and the Harrier'

This was after already adding 30 per cent more power to the legendary Merlin engine and being a major asset to aviation in WW2.

 You can see a little surely why I am proud to have found him!

Well that did it my sister and I had to go back to the place where both our father and Sir Stanley were born...the Isle of Sheppey...and in May last year on a bright and sunny morning we boarded the train to put life into the pieces of paper we had collected.

Crossing over to Sheppey

We knew that several of our relatives were buried in Sheerness cemetary, and also the task we had set ourselves to find them... It is quite large...and then another twist in the tale..

About a couple of weeks before we set off I was contacted on the geneology site by a lady who though we were related.  She lived in Australia,  thought she had the family bible and she had already been to Sheppey doing research on a previous trip to the 'Old Country'. How lucky were we.  Everything tied up the relationship was confirmed, another cousin, and the night before our trip she emailed over the exact location of our great grandparents' graves.  To add the final wonderful touch to this part of my story, she was coming to England again in July and staying in a hotel only about 35 miles away from our home..so this is another story for another day.

I know I've gone on a bit this time and I've so much to reveal about the Sheppey trip, I will give you time to absorb this before I go on again.

Thanks for letting me bend your ears once again, I hope you haven't got a headache by now! Might be wise though to stock up on paracetamol if you intend to keep following.

Until next time

Night night
Jenny x


Hello bootiful friends

A quick PS before I jump to the main event tonight.

First a real big hello and thank you to all my new followers, I know you're only after that mushroom pincushion!   Not really, it's lovely to take you on my life adventure.

Second thank you to all my followers for the lovely encouraging and interesting comments.  I get just as much pleasure reading them as I do sharing my ramblings.  Don't be shy or brief, I really look forward to 'conversations'.

And now what you've all been waiting for......

The fittings for the cake stand were bought from woo-4-bits on Ebay, there may be others, but this is the one I found.  The drill bit is a 5mm diamond core drill.  This lady also sells these and supplies a template and wonderful instructions  to help you get it right.  There is a bit of a knack, but I must say my cakestand was only the second attempt by DH and the only reason he didn't use the first plate was that it was slightly off centre.

Good luck if you have a go yourselves and do show and tell!

Jenny x

Sunday, 18 April 2010


Hello again

After yesterday's beautiful day we really didn't expect to get up this morning to more of the same. But we were wrong and so what do you do on a gorgeous sunny Sunday but head out to your local car boot.

It seems we weren't the only ones either as I'm sure half the county turned up as well.  I have never seen it so busy. Of course the upside of this was that there were loads of sellers too and we were therefore hoping for lots of treasure.

Alas at first it seemed we were looking in vain as almost every stall was either baby clothes, toys or the worst of the eighties. But you don't give up on days like this and eventually we struck, perhaps not gold but at least silver.

A selection of vintage books. Some for presents, one at least I have in mind for something else!

Some pretty pottery.

The platter and the small plate is for me,  the large plate for a birthday project and the two small oval salad plates are for my DD. I collect Johnson Brothers greendawn and greydawn from the 1940s to about the 1970s. The greendawn is this colour but has a fluted edge, These are green cloud a much simpler design which she prefers.  In fact the 'dawn' range includes both rose and gold as well and I've decided to get rid of some of my 200 or so pieces of grey, which is really a pretty pale blue and collect some of the other colours to mix it up a bit.

And then I found this charming tray

Its perfect for tea on the lawn dont you think!

Well now finally to get to the title of this post. Do you recognise these from a previous one...

Drum roll.................

Ta Da...........!!

My clever DH has now drilled them and with the aid of a handle set from ebay has created this fabulous 3 tiered cake stand.  How pleased am I! Anyone for a cup cake? I think I will put him into production.

So what do you do with your booty? I would be very interested to hear of any other makeovers to give us all inspiration and boost our flagging car boot enthusiasm.

Cheers for now, I will be back with 'Who do you think you are' Part 2, later this week!

Jenny x

Saturday, 17 April 2010


Hi there

I suppose we've all done it at some time, wondered where we come from ( I'm talking geography here not biology) and why we live where we do.  Well my journey of discovery only began about 18 months ago.
Somehow despite the fact that we didn't seem to have any relatives living anywhere near us, I never asked any questions.  Talking to friends of about the same age though I realised that you just didn't question your parents in those days. O no I sound like a real relic, but it was a while ago!

I grew up with my mum and five siblings, 3 brothers and 2 sisters and although I do remember odd snatches of conversations about Aunty this and cousin that I wasn't really that curious.

What a cute bunch we were, can you guess which is me?

My sister, who is 12 years older than me ( and still like a spring chicken) went away to the York school for the blind, now part of York University, when she was 7 years old ( no sympathy needed, she is more independent and more adventurous than any of us) and so was the only one of us to really correspond with and know anything about our cousins or any of our family outside our front door!
As mum sadly passed away years ago and dad died  when I was only 2 and the eldest 14, I did leave it rather late to start wondering, but such is life and me.

However every family should have an older sister with a memory that amazes me to this day. And so according to all the best 'Trace your Ancestry' books I have pumped her for every scrap of information memory and photograph until she must be sick of me.  Unfortunately my memory is a bit like a goldfish at times and so I'm sure I keep asking her the same questions!

Are you bored yet?? Sorry I do go on a bit.

Anyway if you've nothing better to do I'll continue, if you have and you can't put off that glass of wine a moment longer, I hope you'll come back later.

Any way!!  Needless to say half the people she remembered I'd never heard of.

So armed with this I started my research, bit posh that, actually I signed up to one of these ancestry sites and let it do the work for me. The 1901 census didn't help me much as although I now had people born before this I didnt have exact dates or their addresses at that time, so I nearly gave up before I started.  But wait...
the 1911 census was released early and now I could find both my parents and their families and the journey began...

It has been such a journey of discovery that I hope you will come back for the next episode.  I won't do them all in a run, I'm trying to build the tension here.... and perhaps gather a few folk on the way!!  But there were exciting finds, no murderers so far.. , but who knows what may be round the corner......

To be continued....

Back soon
Jenny x

Thursday, 15 April 2010

A WEEKEND IN BATH...but the wrinkles were there already!!

Well Bath!

My SIL,BIL and my DH are on a mission to visit as many places we haven't been in the UK as possible, now that we are supposed to have more time!! Umm .. that's a laugh. I cannot honestly say that many of the jobs I planned to do since retiring from F/T work have actually been accomplished yet, but we have done a bit of travelling.

We joined one of those hotel leisure clubs and so far have stayed in some wonderful hotels and converted manor houses. However on our last two trips to Chester and lately to Bath we couldn't get bookings so we found our accommodation on the internet.

In Bath we stayed at the Bailbrook Lodge, a Grade 2 converted  manor house which  is privately owned.  It was very comfortable and the staff almost overwhelmingly helpful.

On Saturday travelling the 160 odd miles the temperature reached 20 degrees at times and we were scorched.  We arrived a bit late having had to stop a couple of times to allow the poor driver some refreshment, and so were only able to take a short walk after booking in, to the Bathampton Mill restaurant where we enjoyed a refreshing drink by the water.

We later returned to eat there and it was excellent.

On Sunday we walked into Bath, but although the sun was shining to begin with, the wind was bitter. So glad we didn't follow our first instinct to leave our coats behind. We played real tourists and took the open top bus tour, even more glad of coats now !!
Of course we couldn't miss a visit to the Roman Baths, or at least my SIL and I couldn't. The men weren't so keen so stayed outside and enjoyed some real entertainment from a unicycle artist and a young girl opera singer. I hate to say it but I think in some respects they were wise.  Oh the baths were quite interesting but  I think they have made them far too commercialised. It has lost its reality and looks more like a film set!

The Georgian buildings were as I imagined them and it was easy to transport ourselves back to Jane Austen times and imagine parading in front of the famous crescent. 

 However one of the things which most impressed me and took us all by surprise were the wonderful allotments. Very well kept and showing an abundance of fresh planting.  Well thats just us, growing up in a farming area, what would you expect!!
Bath was very attractive but I think overall it was not my most favourite destination.  I'm glad I've seen it though.
We returned to our hotel by river taking a cruise up the Avon back to the restaurant mill, a pleasant leisurely way to end our day.

My biggest regret is that we didn't get to Nostalgia at No 1 at Shepton Mallet. We were too late on Saturday and the shop is closed on Sundays. One day though!!  I keep drooling over the lovely pictures in her shop window.

All in all it was a lovely weekend, lovely company, great food ( and some tasty wine) and we're now deciding on our next trip together. 

My next venture will be the continuing journey into my past, with a visit to Kent. More about that next time.

Jenny xx