Friday, 27 February 2009

Emily Has a New Friend!

Our farm story continues with this update:
Upon our arrival at the farm on Tuesday, we were pleased to discover another lamb in the penned area with Emily.

Unfortunately, she was ill, and that was why she had to be removed from the herd and from her mom. She was suffering from an infection that was obtained through her umbilical cord.
A vet was due to take a look at her and to give her a shot, and we were assured that she would be okay.

But because it was her first day in the pen, she had not yet been bottled-fed, and was reluctant to have any of it! "Where is my mum?" must have been what she was thinking! She was not happy about us having to force her to drink her milk.
Katie and I were having trouble keeping her still, trying to get her to keep the bottle in her mouth, and not getting it all over us!
Jim came to the rescue and was able to hold the bottle and keep her mouth wrapped around it, too.
Kate and I helped to keep her calm and in one place, and rubbed and petted her, and talked softly in funny American accents to her.

The new lamb hasn't a name, so we were calling her, Chloe.
Chloe is a different breed than is Emily. She is all white and very, very, soft.
Emily has dark legs that look like she is wearing socks, and a sweet little brown face. Her fur is nubby and short and wiry - almost like terrier fur!

Emily is younger than Chloe, but stronger and used to drinking from her bottle.
Because she had been fed first, she thought she was going to get more when another bottle appeared for Chloe, and kept nudging me and chewing on my coat while I helped with Chloe.
Did you know that baby lambs 'bump' their mums to get the milk flowing before they nurse? Well, baby Emily was 'bumping' me! LOL!

After all of the hard work feeding Chloe, she was quite the tired little lamb and settled in the grass to take a rest after her harrowing ordeal!

We were tired, too, and dirty! As soon as we returned home we washed all of our coats! Chloe had shed all over us and also had gotten milk on everyone!
It was all worth it, though, and we hope to return this Sunday with little children in tow.
How excited will they be to feed a baby lamb???

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

A Day Out in the Cotswolds

Yesterday, we returned to feed Emily Lamb and then took a drive through Evesham, towards the Cotswolds.
We didn't have a plan, and our friends, Dave and Ann, suggested we go to Bourton-on-the-Water.
I love it there.
The charm of the village with a river (we would call it a creek in America) running through the center of town. Footpaths to cross it and walkways either side of it; the yellow-gold colour of the stone buildings, and the charm of the shops, and beauty of the buildings and gardens.

Flowers are peeking up and beginning to show a bit of colour on their buds.

At Christmastime, a tree is decorated and placed in the middle of the river. So very special and so pretty!We had lunch in a Fish and Chips shop and then took a drive towards home via an area called, 'The Slaughters'.
There is Upper and Lower Slaughters.
In Lower Slaughters, we approached the wee village by car, on roads just barely wide enough for the car, looking more like footpaths, than roads.
The water running along side the road had a ford in it.

This is where the ford is, and the chimney stack in the back left is where the museum is.

For those folks reading who aren't from England, fords are areas where one can cross the river, creek, or stream, without use of a bridge!
We drove around the perimeter if the village and found a lovely museum and gift shop hidden beyond the river by the ford.
Outside the door of the museum and gift shop is a traditional
English post box guarded by a gargoyle.


Ann and Dave bought some wee garden things which included a gargoyle and a little stone thing that looked like a mushroom, but I just cannot recall its name!
It reminded me of the mushrooms that fairies sit on in the garden.

We watched as some horses approached and walked down to the ford and crossed the creek.
All-in-all, it was a lovely day out in the country.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Meet Emily Lamb!!!

We have a new friend!
Meet, EMILY LAMB!!!
Yesterday, we made our first pilgrimage to Ellenden Farm, in Harvington, near Evesham.

Our mission: to feed a newborn lamb by bottle.

Emily is two weeks old and lives at the bottom of the garden in a penned area to keep her safe.
She has two small, but quite up-to-the-challenge, Border Terrier guard dogs, Millie and Bramble.
They run about like loons, barking at anything that moves, protecting their young charge.

The lamb's mum didn't have enough milk to feed the triplets she had, so the farm's owners were accepting volunteers to feed her at specific times during the day.
We couldn't have been more excited if the Queen herself were offering a personal invitation to visit her!

Emily Lamb has been named by one of the farm children, a young lady of eight years, who named her after herself. Her surname, is of course, Lamb.

My patient husband has volunteered to be our driver, to and from the farm, for our shifts.
Now, we do not live close th this farm; we drive about 45 minutes to get to it.
So it is no small feat to volunteer to drive two crazy women to the country to feed a lamb.
Jim kept making tidy little comments about mint sauce all the way there! But we were not dismayed; we knew he has a soft spot for all animals, and he was just doing a bit of teasing.

Upon our arrival at the farm shop, we were ushered into the kitchen area and taught how to prepare the bottle for feeding 'our' lamb. We prepared it, and off we went to her pen.
We could hear her calling to us as we walked the short distance from the shop to Emily's garden.
Once inside the pen, Katie got right to work with the feed.

Emily was hungry!Bramble watches as Katie feeds Emily.
He needs to know his charge is being fed properly!

It only takes Emily minutes to devour her bottle. She has a very strong sense of sucking - she could pull the bottle right out of your hand if you didn't have a strong grip on it.
We were told that lambs give their mums a hard bump before feeding, in order to get the milk flowing! We were glad she decided not to do that with us.
Being a very playful lamb, she scampers away when finished, and she frolics around the pen, so happy that she has been fed.
But she takes a moment for a snuggle and a kiss.
We will bring more adventures of Emily Lamb to you as she grows and our bottle feeds continue!

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Just Wanted to Say, 'Hi'!

So many things to get done and where, oh where, is the time going?
I thought I would just stop by to say, 'hello' for today and say I am working on some new projects, have some exciting new finds from a visit to Malvern over the weekend, and will be posting more on the blog, and listing more on Etsy soon!

I listed these darling little cups from the 1960s:
I had an order for some custom mini-business cards that came out just fab!
And soon will list this lovely hand thrown pottery piece:Another order for some custom business 'thank-you' cards is still in the works,
but should be completed tomorrow:
And there will be more vintage buttons coming and some fabulous new graphics, too.
And soon the sewing will begin again and I have some new books to share and some new fabric and some vintage fabric, too!
Soon, soon, soon!

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Today is the day for lovers - and in our house, we take that seriously!
And it includes making a 'new' traditional favourite - decadent chocolate brownie hearts!

When my children were young, I left chocolate Valentine heart lollipops and Valentine cards for them on the dining room table before I went to bed.
In the morning, they would hurry downstairs, getting ready for school, and find their surprise waiting for them.
It was a nice way to welcome their day and let them know how much they were loved.

Since I married my husband, Jim, and now live here in England, we have begun a new tradition: we celebrate the day with home-made, from scratch, brownies. I make them, bake them, and cut them into hearts using a cookie cutter.
Then we adorn them with fresh raspberries and a bit of vanilla ice cream.

I use a brownie recipe from Martha Stewart's Living Magazine, originally published in 2004.
I looked for it on-line, and it has been removed, so I cannot provide a link for you.
But I will place the recipe at the end of this post.
So here are some pictures showing the steps, and the finished product.
Enjoy and wishing you all new traditions to share and love in your hearts for Valentine's Day!


DOUBLE CHOCOLATE BROWNIES

Makes about 8

Vegetable Oil Cooking Spray

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

6 ounces semisweet chocolate (about 170 grams)

* I used Green & Blacks

¼ cup best quality unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder

*I used Green & Blacks Organic Cocoa

¾ cup all purpose flour

¼ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (about 180 C)
  2. Line an 8” square baking dish with parchment paper, leaving a 2” overhang on 2 sides. Coat with cooking spray. Set aside.

· Press the paper in the pan, trim to fit.

· Spray the pan first, and then replace the trimmed paper.

· Spray again. I used butter.

  1. Melt together: butter, chocolate & cocoa in heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water. Remove from heat. Stir until smooth. Let cool slightly.
  2. Whisk together: flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. Put eggs, sugar and vanilla into a bowl of an electric mixer fitted wit a whisk attachment. Beat until pale, about 4 minutes.
  4. Beat in the chocolate mixture. Add the flour mixture. Beat until just combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
  5. Transfer batter to the prepared pan. Smooth top with an offset spatula. Bake until a cake tester inserted between the edge and the center of the pan comes out with a few crumbs on it, about 30-35 minutes. Do not over bake. Let cool about 15 minutes and remove from the pan and transfer to a wire rack.

Martha Stewart Living magazine: 15 Years of Delicious Desserts

February 2006; Originally from magazine published in February 2004

Photograph & Description: Page 61; Recipe: Page 16


In the News

My daughter is safe.
Thank God.
She and her fiancée were going 'home' for the weekend, to Buffalo yesterday.
Her fiancée, Joe, works for Continental airlines, and they typically fly out of Newark, to Buffalo, on the small commuter jets run by the subsidiary company, Colgan. The flight takes about 50 minutes once in the air, and is a very inexpensive and fast way for them to get to Buffalo.

My husband woke me last night at about 5:00 am to break the news to me that one of Continental's planes had crashed in Clarence, just about five miles from the Buffalo airport.
He didn't know that my daughter, Elizabeth, and her fiancée Joe, was traveling to Buffalo for the weekend.

In shock, and disbelief, I was up instantly but without comprehension of what I was doing.
Trying to locate her new mobile phone number and shaking uncontrollably, I stuttered that she and Joe were on the plane.

We take it for granted that the commuter flights are safe; they are so frequent between Buffalo and Newark. I hadn't even asked her which flight she was taking. All I knew was that she said they were leaving late in the day.
There is a late afternoon flight that leaves around 4pm. Being a weekday, it would be full of business persons returning to Buffalo, or, making connections to Toronto.
The kids must fly stand-by and would have been bumped to the doomed flight if the 4:00 flight they wanted was full.
But all this was meaningless; all I could think of was that she and Joe were on the flight that crashed.

My darling Jim remained calm and located the elusive phone number and dialed it for me. I never could have done it - my hands and whole body were shaking.

I was so very frightened that the phone would go immediately to her voice mail.
But when she answered, I was never so happy to hear anyone's voice in my life.
Although relieved, relief would not be instant: my uncontrollable shaking would not stop for another 30 minutes or so.

Elizabeth and Joe had driven to Buffalo from Brooklyn, risking winter weather driving conditions, journeying for over 7 hours when they could have been there in less than an hour.
And I thanked God for that decision.

She knew something was wrong from the sound of my voice, and she immediately panicked thinking it was someone here who was ill.
She hadn't yet heard of the crash and we were breaking the news to her from over 3,000 miles away. We spoke for a little bit and then she had to go as her phone had a call waiting.
She was up most of the evening with people ringing her to check to make sure she was all right.

I was up all night as I just couldn't go back to sleep and I turned to CNN to keep me updated on the events as they unfolded throughout the day.

I understand just how the victims' families feel with a sense of disbelief, pain, and shock at their losses. The only difference is that my experience had a happy ending. But during the moments of panic before I knew she had not boarded the ill fated plane, I was walking in their shoes; unaware of what lay ahead and just how I was going to ever live without my beautiful daughter and her loving fiancée.
My heart truly goes out to all of the families involved, as my prayers are with them, and will remain so as time passes.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

. . . and here comes more of it!

We have barely escaped from last week's snows, and now there is more heading our way.
All news points to being snowed-in again tomorrow.
I pray they close the university, as my daughter is supposed to head back tomorrow and I do not want to drive in it if it is as bad as they expect.
I thought I would share a video of what it looks like, snowing in our garden about an hour ago, when there was still enough light to capture it.
Never did this before so I will hope for the best!

video

And here is one more to help keep you warm!

video

Friday, 6 February 2009

Snowed-In


Our garden and our neighbour's garden are filled with snow!
While the weather wreaked havoc with our daily routine throughout the week, it was actually nice to stay bundled up inside, while the snow swirled around outside.
Providing sound reasons why one should sit in front of the fire and create some new little lovelies by hand.

Thinking about what to make with an Easter theme, (you know it will be here before we know it - despite the swirling snow we see outside) I decided to use some egg cups that I was going to add to my vintage Etsy shop for sale.
Some sweet little pincushions are the result of about two days work. I just love them!

Using vintage (mostly figural) egg cups as the inspiration, I first made a pattern for the top 'pouf'.
Next, I sorted through fabric I have on hand - some new, some vintage 'new' and some upcycled, looking to match fabric with egg cup for the best possible results.
Then I cut the poufs from the fabric, and filled the pouf with lavender and backfilled with fluff.
Sewing the poufs, and finally securing the filled pouf inside the egg cups, and voilia!
Vintage egg cup pincushions partially filled with lavender!
Every time a pin goes in, a delicate scent of lavender rises from the pouf. So lovely!

So if you have the odd egg cup in the back of your cupbard, why not give it a go?
Turn something not being used into something you can use when you are sewing.
They will be a conversation piece that is practical, too, and can be added to all of the rooms you ise when you sew - no more dragging your pins with you from room-to-room.

But now that I have them, I almost hate to part with them! They look so cute all lined up on my windowsill.
And I need to find even more egg cups to make more of them!

I also made an egg cozy to go with the vintage egg trimmer/cutter I have for sale in my shop.
Although the egg cup pin cushions and the egg trimmer are vintage, they will be featured in SweetScarlett due to the hand-made nature of the alterations that I have done.
Stop by if you have a moment and take a look.

Monday, 2 February 2009

It's Groundhog's Day!


Happy Groundhog's Day!

Don't you just LOVE this day? What could be better on a gloomy winter's day than to celebrate the passing of seasons with a furry little creature? In this case, a weather-predicting groundhog!

I love the folklore associated with this day, and would love to see its status elevated to that of a National Holiday, if anyone would just agree with me!
I know many of the enlightened readers of this space will be familiar with the movie, Groundhog's Day, with Bill Murray and Andie McDowell, but how many of them have actually gone to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania for a personal visit with Phil the groundhog?

Many years ago, on a dark February night, I packed the van (people carrier) with blankets, pillows, snacks, and beverages, in preparation for the long journey from Buffalo, NY, to Punxsutawney, PA.
I didn't get much sleep that night, more due to excitement than anything else, and 'woke' at about midnight to ready the coffee and to wake my sleeping children.
They were allowed to remain in their pajamas during the long evening's ride, but had a change of clothing in the car, so they would be warm and properly dressed when we arrived at our destination.

Off we went on a road trip that took us driving around mountains in the dark while huge semi trucks passed us in a very scary way! There was no TomTom in those days so we were on our own with map-reading and sign-following.
Of course, the children were really small, and fell asleep quickly when we began the drive, so it was really me alone in the 'cockpit', saying a prayer that the roads ahead in Pennsylvania, would be kind to us.

After what seemed to take forever, we found ourselves in the usually sleepy little town, that was abuzz with the excitement of the day. Cars and people were everywhere and we soon found our way to a parking lot where we waited for a bus to take us up to Gobbler's Knob, the site where Punxsutawney Phil would be waiting to announce how much longer winter would last.
On the bus we were riding, the people who had come the furthest for the event, was a couple from Hawaii, followed by another from New England.
The ride was not that long, we were suddenly deposited in just about the coldest place on earth, aside from the Antarctic!

Yes, it was at the top of a barren hill without much in the way of trees, or anything else there, to protect us from the bitter wind. The few trees that were present, seemed to be full of partying college students, who had spent the night there waiting for the big event. I think only blood-filled with alcohol kept the from freezing to death!
We, with feet standing on solid ground, quickly discovered that the ground was frozen solid with ice, and it didn't take long for us all to be chilled to the bone.

But we had timed everything perfectly so it wasn't long before we saw our little furry friend in the 'flesh'. How fun it was to bear witness to Phil as he 'spoke' to his handler and then to hear his proclamation read aloud! My children were in awe and if I am honest, so was I.
It was so pure and simple and fun.

We remained behind as the crowds began leaving, even though we were frozen almost as solid as the ice beneath our feet, and waited patiently for our turn to give Phil a bit of love.
We were allowed to go right up to the stage and pet Phil while his handler held on tightly to him.
He never even gave a nip - he was that gentle.

We made our way back to our shuttle bus, and then back to town, where we enjoyed a late breakfast in a small diner in town. We left the diner's bakery, with a dozen or so cut-out butter cookies, featuring none other than our hero, Phil. He was quite attentive in a standing position, covered in frosting, and seemingly not minding a bit. Of course, we had to also purchase a cookie cutter, too, in order to make more for those years when we would not be able to return to Punxsutawney, but needed a bit of a reminder of our fun day there with Phil.

And tonight, my son called me from North Carolina, to wish me a Happy Groundhog's Day.

His call reminded me that the special moments we create with our children are held close to their hearts, no matter how old they grow to be.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

The Art of Sunny Bower



Hello friends,

Today I would like to share the work of a talented artist from Etsy, Sunny Bower.
She was a stranger to me, just a week or so ago, when I featured her in
a Treasury I curated.
Upon discovering her work was being featured, she then featured ME in her blog.
I was shocked and humbled at her generosity.
So today, I would like to share some of her gorgeous work with you all and some links to her shops and to her blog.
She is ever so talented!

She can paint something so real you want to drink it . . .
and then she can create an image so charming, and traditional, you want to share it with your children.

Or she can consider a greater audience and cause . . .

Give her a look!
Sunny Bower's blog: http://vineyardpainter.blogspot.com/
Sunny Bower's Etsy Shop, The Art of Sunny Bower:
http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5666244
Sunny Bower's Etsy Shop, ZenGarden:
http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5767439