“Now… What would France with Us?”

I’m blogging today for many reasons: because it’s been a long time since I did so (as reminded by some good friends!), because I have finally finished some long-standing craft projects and because, bitterly, I’m trying to block out Wales’ defeat to France in the semi-final of the rugby world cup. C’est la vie, I suppose.

The late spell of Indian-summer heat saw me in the back garden painting furniture (a blog on a renovated “upcycled” charity shop stool yet to come) but, conversely, I was also stricken down by a pathetic mini version of man flu which confined me to the lounge and to my crochet hooks… The result? Mission: Crochet Blanket is now accomplished! It’s taken me a year, but I’m chuffed with the final result. As with many things in my life, it shows that perseverance definitely pays off in the end.

Today I am also, in true Kirsty Allsop style, recommending Lewes for its gorgeous labyrinthine antique centres, where I snapped up a beautiful mock-French bedroom chair. And my doorstop (made with material matching my draught excluder from an earlier post) is now completed and filled with Welsh sand, from Tenby’s North beach, no less. Finally, for some Keatsian autumnal fun, evidence of what we’ve been growing in our back garden this year…

As a postscript, I really would recommend crochet to anyone considering it. It’s addictive and fairly simple in its repetitiveness. Youtube has some good tutorials. In the meantime, they say that idle hands are the devil’s something, so I’m moving on to cushion covers and bunting. Should be done by Christmas…

“If Music Be The Food Of Love, Play On…”

Gifts. That’s what I’m pondering today, after my recent talk about home-made pressies. What gifts really are the best? Big flashy expensive ones? Rushed, panic-bought bath salts? Fail-safe store vouchers? A poorly composed love poem (from Twelfth Night, perhaps?!)? I’m firmly of the opinion that it’s the home-made, “it’s the thought that count”, “made with love” gifts that mean the most and are the best. But maybe I’m wrong. Please do dispute me. And obviously, if someone wished to buy me a big flashy piece of jewellery, or a car, or a designer handbag, then I probably wouldn’t decline…

To prove my point, here are some gifts given to myself and my family recently. My dad was recently in an accident, and so a work colleague thought to send him a gift. But what? Men are difficult to buy for at the best of times. The perfect answer: homemade Welsh Gower brownies. Perhaps not the most obvious choice, but these brownies were so delectable and melt-in-your-mouth-y that no brownies have matched up to them since. Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to eat them all, but believe me if I could’ve I probably would’ve. I heartily recommend them to everyone as the proof that all the best things in life do in fact come from Wales. Check out their website and I challenge you to not let these snaps make your mouth drool! http://www.gowercottagebrownies.co.uk/index.html

Now the Gower Cottage people do say why send flowers when you can send brownies, but I still love a good bouquet. I recieved a bunch as a leaving present last month and I think they’re beautiful. Perhaps the novelty of flowers wears off after a while. I can’t say I’ve got to that stage in my life just yet. Happy gift buying, people!