Tuesday, 30 October 2012


My neighbour is a ceramicist and I attend her class every week.  I'm not very good at it but was very pleased with a mould I made for a torso.  This involved making the actual shape I wanted, then making another shape around this which would then form the hollow when the original was removed.  I can now make as many as I like by pouring in plaster (do you ever remember making things with rubber moulds as a child?).  

My first attempt shows the shape as it comes out of the mould.  This can then be tweaked and parts removed or added as you wish.  I decided to raku this one which gives it the crazed black markings.

My next torso was just given a v shaped neck and a white glaze which has left it quite plain looking.

My third one was attacked with a knife and dremel drill to form holes, then glazed with a bronze glaze and I am really pleased with this one;  I feel I am improving!!

I have recently had another birthday; I'm sure they come round more than once a year!!  One of my presents was this lovely Avoca bag.

Today a friend treated me to a manicure then a day's shopping and lunch out in Winchester.  I love this card she gave me!

Love it!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Hairy Bikers' Spanish Style Chicken Bake

Who would have thought that anything which tastes as delicious as this could be 'diet' food?  This is so yummy and apparently only 370 calories per serving.  I made it last night and it is definitely on my list of favourites.  My attempt is this one but I used chicken breasts instead of thighs.  The recipe is in 'The Hairy Dieters', their book on 'how to love food and lose weight'.

Whilst shopping in Chichester yesterday I found a wonderful shop Zest for Taste and bought some Date Balsamic vinegar and Olive Oil with Lemon which are just gorgeous together and soaked up with olive bread.

The shop has loads of vinegars and oils for sale by draught so you can just choose whatever you like.  I shall definitely be visiting and buying some more from their wide variety.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


Lustucru Torchon Rack

Lustucru Milk Pail

I have liked Lustucru ware for a long while and ask my French contacts to buy any they see as it is very collectible and always seems to sell.  Both the blue and the red would go in my kitchen but I have chosen to have the blue; this allumettes container and torchon rack are mine.

These storage tins and utensil rack are for sale and on my website.

Lustucru Utensil Rack and Cannisters

In 1824 a manufacturer located in Grenoble, France began producing 15 tons of pasta a day capitalising on a new drying process which enabled pasta to be made at a much lower cost.  In 1911 a contest between the best illustrators of the time produced a name, brand logo and mascot.  This was a simple blue checkerboard (to evoke a kitchen) and Pere Lustucru, a 17th century fictional character.  To raise awareness of the firm they produced kitchen items bearing this checkerboard design.  The French housewife would collect tokens from the pasta packaging and redeem these for her chosen kitchen items such as cannisters, utensil racks, clocks, milk pails, coffee pots and trivets.  Square and round cannister sets were especially popular in the 1920s and as well as the red/cream, blue/cream  colours they also produced light blue/royal blue and green/yellow (very rare).

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Gwen and Augustus John

I attend an art appreciation group once a month (it sounds very grand but is only a few friends improving our knowledge of artists).  This last month I suggested we study Gwen (1876 - 1939) and Augustus John (1878 - 1961)  British brother and sister.  I came across Gwen John whilst wasting time perusing on Pinterest.  I am totally addicted to Pinterest and could spend hours on there!  The first painting of Gwen's that I found I just fell in love with.  It  is of a nun and two orphans

and I even persuaded my husband to paint it on a large canvas for our dining room.  Gwen is noted for her portraits of unknown female sitters and later became an artist's model and lover of Rodin.

Study of a child, probably another orphan.

This is a self portrait painted in 1902.

By the 1920s Augustus John was Britain's leading portrait painter and he painted Dylan Thomas, Thomas Hardy, George Bernard Shaw and T E Lawrence to name but a few.  My favourite is his painting of W B Yeats.

I particularly like the paintings of some of his children



and Caspar (who later became a British Admiral and First Sea Lord Sir Caspar John).

Augustus is reputed to have fathered more than 100 illegitimate children and apparently used to affectionately tap all children on the head in case they were his own!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

...and more

I am still listing the French items I had bought before we went on holiday onto my website.  This large green enamel pitcher would look lovely displaying greenery and holly at Christmas.  (The portable cast iron step also in the photo was used for people to step out of carriages and is mine, not for sale).

This week I have learnt how to print onto fabric using my printer.  I have used a vintage French linen sheet to make all sorts of labels including this one on a French trug

and some hessian for a label on a florist's bucket.

(Both these items are now sold).
I often sell vintage French wine carriers, either for six or four bottles, but have never seen one which carried ten bottles!

That's more like my size!

These gravy/sauce boats are such a good idea but I've never seen an equivalent in the UK.

There are two spouts, one with a flange, one without.  One side has the letter M for Maigre, meaning lean, the other side has a G for Gras meaning fat.  The French refer to these double spouted jugs as Gras-Maigres.  Depending on which spout you pour from determines whether the fat is separated from the gravy or not.  Clever!

I will leave you with a photo I took whilst walking on the beach on Sunday morning; it was just like Summer.

I almost forgot!  If you fancy entering the giveaway on my daughter's blog you could win £100 worth of vouchers to spend at Boohoo (clothing).  Wish I could enter!