Friday, 30 November 2007

Pickles has been tagged....

Lying in state in sick bed and bored rigid... so here's one I prepared earlier.....
(Thanks so much for get well wishes... they are the best medicine!)

Captain Rupert @ Higglety Pigglety has tagged Pickles... so here goes..
Pickles has his say...and you won't hear the last of it!

Name five favourite songs

1. (Diamonds) Tabbies are forever
2. Cool for Cats
3. (Born) Prawn free!
4. (Wish) Fish upon a star
5. Tiger Feet

Five favourite toys

1. Wally the best loved catnip toy
2. Any cardboard box that happens to be vacant
3. Helium balloons.. love to jump up and catch the string .Always a favourite at Christmas
4. Clockwork mouse.. when the real thing is unavailable
5. Chasing my own tail when there’s nothing else to do

Name five things you love to eat

1. Fish fish and more fish
2. Fish
3. Science Plan munchies
4. Prawns when I am lucky!
5. Greek yoghurt.. well why not!

Five activities you like to indulge in

1. Curtain twitching
2. Climbing into small spaces.. boxes, cupboards, whatever fits!
3. Bird watching
4. Digging up the garden
5. Sleeping! Lots of sleeping.

Name five bad habits …only five!?

1. Ambushing feet on the stairs
2. Attention seeking.. climbing along the mantelpiece and knocking ornaments off.. only when I am hungry though!
3. Paddling in the bath with muddy paws
4. Chasing the cute cat next door!
5. Bringing up hairballs on the best rug…… sorry tmi.

Just to let you know that Pickles is working on his autobiography ... place your orders now!

Coming up for air

Despite telling the world earlier today that I was horizontal and poorly I must tell you about recent events in the Cowboys and Custard household.....
I woke up this morning with my throat feeling like grade 3 sandpaper.. Rough! and pretty achey and .. in a word GROTTY!
Now some time ago I arranged with one of my dear fellow bloggers Nicky @ Vintage Magpie, for her to come visit me in Bath as she was bringing some of her adorable family of teddies and bunnies to present to some of the fabulous individual shops that we are famous for here in this fine city. Nicky brought her good friend Asti @ Lilys House.. who makes Beeeuuuuutiful bags so I had the pleasure of meeting both lasses and with them they brought some of their wonderful crafted wares..

Now before I am lynched for being a fraud.. I was ill... I am ill... I couldn't get hold of Nicky and Asti on their convoluted journey from Devon to warn them that I was full of lurgy and if they wanted to bring a wreath of garlic to ward off the germs.. to do so!
So I got up.. put on clothes.. put on kettle... and waited for the heroic duo to arrive..via sat nav.. and they did..eventually but nearly detouring to Bournmouth..(sorry girls)
Well was such a pleasure to meet these two girls who have ooodles of talent between them and happen to be very friendly and lovely to chat to ..too!
As they departed Nicky gave me this..

I could hardly wait to unwrap it though such a shame to spoil the wrapping as it was so prettily packaged..
Inside was the most appropriate and pretty present of tissues in a lovely rose pocket..

Thank you so so much girls.. it was such a pleasure to meet you both and please don't tell the other bloggers that I live in a hovel and have two heads... our little secret!

Now I am tucked up in bed again whilst they run riot in town...
Good luck Nicky & Asti.... I hope the bunnies and bags found new homes.. though you should have left Beatrice bunny with me..a bunny with a huge character.

Now Let me also tell you that Pickles has been tagged by Captain Rupert at Higglety Pigglety..
He is taking this very seriously and giving it much thought ... in between naps and eating plates of tuna.. I ask you!
He will report back later today with his answers..

Much gratitude and appreciation for your sympathetic comments... on earlier post. They really do help lift the old spirits! Thank you xxxx
Now it's off to la la land for a while...ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Notes from the duvet...

What a difference a day makes... cue the music..I have finally succumbed to the dreaded lurgy and feel so grotty I am going to go underground (under duvet) for today.. thank you for all your kind comments and sympathy yesterday.
I will hopefully emerge soon....

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Hale and Hearty....

Oh come all ye faithful.. and you did.. thank you so much for your supportive and helpful comments yesterday..
I am feeling a lot more sparkly today as the clouds have lifted and although the poor old bones are creaking and my chesty cough makes me sound like an old boiler spluttering and wheezing.. Oh the joys of winter.. I have renewed enthusiasm and was eager to return to blogland. I have had numerous helpful comments from you and hotline advice from PG.. thank you dearly! .. on how to link.. and I was beginning to get a bit panicky and think.. have I really lost the plot.. it all sounds so simple and YET when I put all the relevant info into the little relevant boxes and press the relevant buttons... NOTHING happens!! It is totally irrelevant!
Oh I could cry into my porridge with the injustice of it! I will sneak up on it today and see if I can catch it out as I am sure there is a malevolant gremlin living in my blogger dashboard that I swear I have heard chuckling quietly to itself when I fail to manage this blinking linking business! As for banners.. I think it will require a nervous breakdown before I succeed!

Moving on.. before you become totally underwhelmed...

I wanted to share some hearts with you..
I am rather fond of these symbols of love and they take many forms.. but here are just a few of my favourites..
This gorgeous red and white gingham lavender filled heart was lovingly crafted by Carol @ Katherine's Dream and adorns my kitchen dresser.. Merci beaucoup!

This wooden angel puppet has a heart on a string.. pull the string and she does the can can!

This twiggy heart was given to my by a friend a long time ago and sits by the Aga.

A lovely rustic wooden heart... says it all..

Bathroom hearts.. of drift wood and mussels..

Tabletop hearts...

And last but not least.. my boudoir heart from Niki @ Nostalgia at the Stonehouse.. made from vintage fabric and attached to one of her beautiful dolls.. see earlier post.

This post is from the heart..XXX

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Lost in translation..

I have been struggling for the last few days to find the wit and wisdom to write to all you loyal visitors..
Just having a temporary blip and feeling the midwinter blues creeping up on me.. now why should that be when I was bouncing around like the proverbial March hare (bunny in my case) at the weekend .. despite feeling on the verge of a lurgy!
I think it is a combination of factors but without going into the nitty gritty of my life .. I will just say one thing in my defence m'lord... I am going to cast aside this little cloud and return with renewed vigour and tasty morsels for you all ... tomorrow I hope!

Before I depart.. I have now to admit defeat with this whole blessed 'Linking' business and have discovered that apple mac computers do not have the same symbols as PC's so all your helpful advice has fallen by the wayside I am afraid!
Much as it was appreciated..
I will persevere and one day you will be oh so impressed with my techy skills!
But for now.. I am still floundering around with widgets and whatsits and wondering how the heck it works!
Can anyone enlighten me as to how I put a banner on my blog... I would like to gild the lily a bit and make Cowboys & Custard a vision of delight..
Any answers on a postcard and please speak slowly so I can understand! Blogging by numbers!

Sunday, 25 November 2007

15mm of Fame ...

Didn't Andy Warhol once say that everyone would be famous for 15 minutes...?
Well today I achieved 15 millimetres of fame instead, or thereabouts....
Today was the day, my moment of fame would arrive via The Mail on Sunday You magazine..and after waiting weeks of excited anticipation for my Christmas cards to be featured in the National Press.. I eagerly sought the blaze of publicity.. with trembling fingers I flicked impatiently through the glossy pages. Well if you have a magnifying glass.. nay.. a telescope... you might just be lucky enough to glimpse the blurry little snowman on page 96...even with my super strength reading glasses I had to squint.. well there is a saying... be thankful for small snowmen!

I have had a wonderful weekend ... despite feeling a bit grotty with cold and achy after my garden marathon..on Friday.
Oh quick aside.. thank you for all your lovely kind comments about my garden.. and to those of you who not all the photos were taken that day.. the flowers were from the summer.. it just looked better than a blank canvas as it stands in its winter dress.

Yesterday I had the most wonderful deliveries in the post from a dear friend Carol at Katherine's Dream (still no links I am afraid but soon my friends soon..) a beautiful red and white gingham heart filled with lavender (my favourite).. this heart will be revealed in a post I am doing later this week.. Thank you Carol.. it was so very sweet of you to send me this gift.. one from the heart! Big hug to you..xx

I also received my Christmas present.. bought by me.. for me! I couldn't resist this lovely tea cosy that I discovered by Samantha Stas at Samantha has some charming and cheery products on her web page and I love the colours and use of fabrics... I am sure you will agree... just my cup of tea! Never has my tea pot been so well dressed! Check out her page and see what I mean..

Yesterday we beetled off to Tisbury in deepest darkest Compton Marbling.. a wonderful emporium of crafts and antiques .. in fact all manner of wonderful stalls for the Christmas Craft Fayre were held in a quadrangle of stone barns.. There was a lovely atmosphere and a real bustle of shoppers who had come far and wide to this regular event.
I was so smitten with the place that I hope to take a stall there next year.. The name Compton Marbling has been known to me for years as I once worked at a fine stationers in Bath called Papyrus and they stocked fabulous hand-made papers and marbled papers from this local industry..
I was so excited and in headless chicken mode that I forgot to take any photos of the place.. oh silly me!!!!
After spending the modest sum of £3.50 on a Shaker style tin angel .. we then scuttled off to the local inn for a hearty lunch of roast beef and horseradish sandwiches. Log fires, squashy battered leather sofas and candlelight..make this inn a wonderful winter retreat..
A perfect weekend.. How was yours?

Friday, 23 November 2007

The Battle of the Bindweed (and bulge)

Well I hope you are dazzled reading this because my halo is shining bright today..
I am feeling very virtuous after spending four hours in the garden, digging, planting and doing battle with the marauding bindweed. I don't deserve to feel virtuous really as it has taken weeks of mild threats that 'I am going to plant those bulbs..'
and finally today.. I decide the moment is ripe to get out in the glorious sun and have a good grovel in the dirt.
I love garden passionately but only aspects of it.. I get a real kick out of watching plants grow and bloom and so the 100 or so daffs that I have lovingly plonked into the soil today will give me huge pleasure.. and Spring will be much awaited.
The beauty of staggering my garden pursuits is that I can't remember what I have already planted so it will be a double delight in the Spring to discover bulbs I had forgotten about..
Today I also got round to planting up some pots that had lain empty for far too long..

I was lucky to inherit a beautiful Doulton carbon water filter or two which make fabulous planters and so to do them some justice I have stuffed them with miniature narcissii bulbs and tulips and I will wait and watch for their transformation..

This garden is relatively new as we only moved in 18 months ago and the whole garden was stripped bare of it's neglect and landscaped.. We could do with a stair lift to get from one end to t'other as it is very steep but it has different rooms and areas and gradually it will evolve and become my own garden of Eden..

I hope my four hour work- out has gone some way to burning off the indulgent mince pie feast I had this week... I certainly feel like I have done four rounds in the ring.. I can hardly stand upright.. The hunchback of Bath.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

The Tale of Two Kittys

I have been thinking for the last few days (yes.. it happens occasionally) that Pickles should have his own post as he seems to have gathered a small fan club of late.. well at least three of you have sent love to him.
Pickles is no ordinary cat and as my son so aptly said the other day.. "I don't think of Pickles as an animal, much more like a person" and that is what he is.. a fully qualified member of the family and with equal status..
In short... I adore him! I have had cats all my life and they have all had individual and totally different characters from each other but Pickles is 'one of a kind' cat! To start with he has an alter ego called Mr Pig.. this side of him is hugely eccentric and features often in songs that we sing to him (yes.. we are barking!) We suspect that Mr Pig has a job as a window cleaner on the sly so we sing "Pickles is a window cleaner now..." to a George Formby style tune..

it get's worse! Leave now if you are of a delicate disposition.

Pickles knows exactly how I feel and will curl up next to me or on me if I am feeling bluesy or unwell..
He talks.. not like any other cat I have ever known.. he squeaks rather than meows and the volume increases if he wants to get his point across.. Pickles plays fetch.. he has a small catnip walrus ??? 'Wally' and will retrieve it each time it is thrown.. if we go away for a day we find Wally placed on the bed.. a gift to say 'I forgive you.'
Pickles is a typical tom cat but a bit of a wuss too.. he picks fights and then runs!!!!
He can never resist a cardboard box.. even if it is too small..

His least endearing habits are bringing little furry gifts home.. mice, birds, frogs (not furry) fish, last but not least... bats..
I suppose we should be grateful that he brings his gifts home and lets them loose in the house without killing them.. so one morning whilst enjoying my morning cuppa in bed and happily reading a book.. a bat comes flapping into the bedroom.. immediate instinct is to dive under the duvet.. bats and long hair.. don't get on do they?? I am screaming at the top of my voice for my beloved to come and rescue me and the bat (not necessarily in that order) and he is on the lower floor of the house 3 floors down and can't hear me as I am under the duvet.. my son chooses to ignore his hysterical mother.
Then to make matters worse.. in comes Pickles in hot pursuit of the bat and starts jumping up and down on the bed, I assume to catch the bat in which he succeeds. Eventually.. this story has a happy ending.. bat is released unharmed out of the window.. cat is given long pep talk about respecting nature and I have hair intact!
Yes Pickles aka Mr Pig.. is one special cat!
Fan mail for either cat can be sent to this blog... I will forward it.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Monkey See Monkey do?  :-) Vintage thanksgiving card

To all our absent friends over the pond.. Wishing you all a Happy and Peaceful Thanksgiving!

Love Michelexx

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

It's a Wrap...

Today.. mummy bear made the cave cosy and cleaned, cooked and crafted.. not venturing too far these days due to the deluge.
Normally I start to get cabin fever if I am cooped up day after day in my little kitchen cave.. but this weather just makes me want to hibernate and get snuggly..Oh thank heavens for the Aga! I know they are not P.C when it comes to carbon footprints and all but I suppose it balances out as I don't put the heating on all day whilst I am working in the kitchen and therefore save on central heating... well that's my tissue thin theory!
Today did bring joy.. the postman delivered a very exciting parcel from Edgar & Edgar (sorry Lucy.. still haven't sussed out the link thing.. please be patient with me) It was a roll of vintage Christmas Wrapping paper..

just what I have been searching for to use in my Christmas frames.. the real vintage deal! Wonderful graphics and v nostalgic.. Ooooo do love nostalgia!
Pickles took an immediate interest in the parcel as I was unwrapping it and then claimed it as his own!

Been making more cards in a bit of a frenzy as I am hoping ( fingers, toes and eyes crossed) that my small feature in this Sunday's Mail on Sunday YOU magazine will bring a flurry of orders.. sorry, for shameless publicity stunt..
Well.. when needs must..and all that.

So how have you got on today?
I hear Carol at Katherine's Dream is proper poorly with a nasty nasty bug.. hugs to you Carol.. but from a distance!
Annie at Saucerful of Secrets has made some GORGEOUS dolls .... go see!
Louise at Home is Where the Heart is.. has some hilarious shoes to show you..
Nicky at Vintage Magpie has some wonderful crafts going on ..
Niki from Nostalgia at the Stonehouse has some fabulous alternative Christmas gift ideas for teachers..

Before I go and wrestle with supper.. I will ease your curiosity..

This is me... I don't always look this blurred. Must be the weather!
Have a cosy evening all

Monday, 19 November 2007

You make me laugh award!

Another award.... what is going on!!????
Thanks a million Louise@Homeiswheretheheartis....(make mental note... ask everyone how to link names to blog)
It has really brightened an otherwise very dreary day.
I do love to laugh but I have a quirky sense of humour if you can call it that.. amongst other things.. and I am not sure everyone is on the same bus as me when it comes to my intended humour. It's good to know I make you smile Louise.
I really appreciate this... thank you!


So far the last laugh is on me as I can't upload the award.... I'll keep trying

P.s Success!

Shelf Life ..

Well.. what a weekend! I was contemplating building an ark yesterday as the rain was relentless.
I hope you have all had a good weekend.. I know that several of you had interesting craft/antique fairs to go to .. I hope that they weren't a wash out and that much fun (and money) was had by all!
I stayed put at my kitchen table churning out badges for my cards and turning my thoughts to Valentine's day. Yes .. I know it sounds crazy when the turkey hasn't even landed yet (??) but in the fickle world of commerce that I live in..(oh I shouldn't knock it as it pays the bills...just) I have to think several months and occasions in advance..
So love is in the air at Cowboys & Custard enterprises and I am sourcing love tokens and ephemera for the next production line.

Short interlude.. muzac playing softly in background.. not enough to annoy I hope........

I have strayed right off the beaten track as I was not intending to write about Luuuuuurve and work...
You know.. an award that I think I really do deserve in one for PROCRASTINATION!
I am here there and everywhere in my mind these days and it's all the bloggings fault! So there!
I am having endless conversations (one-sided) in my mind about this and that and wanting to share these ramblings with you..
but what I really wanted to show you today was the mantelpiece in our living room.

When we first set eyes upon the monstrosity.. that is our mantlepiece... we both silently agreed that "it had to go".
It is a very unusual wooden construction with a slightly Eastern flavour.. Islamic possibly. Well that was 18 months ago and the 'monstrosity' has grown on us and I have found it very useful to display the ever increasing collection of family photos.
It is a beautiful focal point of the room and one day we hope to fire up the grate which has been added since our arrival.
This morning I took all the photos and ornaments down for it's annual dust (!!) and used elbow grease and polish to burnish the wood..

I am so looking forward to Christmas now as I have a mantle display in mind which I look forward to sharing with you.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Woofs and waggy tails!

Thank you for your praise and congratulations .. it is so nice to be welcomed to blogging in this way and it really spurs me on to 'blog' on. I was so worried that I would have run out of things to say by now but there are plenty more posts queuing up in my head waiting to be published one day..My head is in danger of swelling if I receive any more lovely comments.. but it is my derriere that is getting bigger by the day with all this blogging and NOT jogging!

Have a fab weekend and don't overdo the glue!


P.s I am off down the hill to watch the filming of 'The Duchess' a new historical film to be released next year and starring Keira Knightley amongst others. We are so fortunate here in Bath as it is often used for Jane Austen adaptations and similar film productions. The Georgian architecture makes a perfect backdrop for filming.
I will try and get some sneaky photos for future post.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Busy little bees ......

I have just received this lovely friendly award from bj@sweetnothings.. Thank you so much bj.. it is lovely to be given such an accolade!

This week the cogs have been whirring here at Cowboys & Custard enterprises..
I am trying to keep my web shop page stocked with frames and handle Christmas card orders as they come in... and as all you crafters out there who sell your own goods know.. you can never second guess how many orders will fall on the doormat or intray each day..
I work so much better under pressure as I need the adrenalin to keep the conveyor belt moving and love it when I get unexpected orders coming in as long as they are not required yesterday!
I can almost hear the click click click of the sewing machines all across the land of your frantic production line of crafts in time for Christmas.. so here's to all you arty crafty people out there.. raise your mug and here's a toast to every one of you..
May your needle never break, my your thread run smoothly, may your glue gun never run dry and have a wonderful crafty weekend!

So here are just some of my latest Christmas creations..

If any of you are lucky enough to get to the Country Living Christmas Fair then you can buy my cards on Dee Puddy's Stand P42. If you are interested in buying any of these items below... just drop me a line..

The Factory

P.s Thanks to all of you who have notified me of your comments being returned by the mail sender. I would just ignore these annoying messages as I DO receive your comments and appreciate every single one!

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Once upon a time ....

There was a hopelessly addicted internet surfer who just happened one day to put the words ' vintage nostalgia' into google search and lo.. she came upon a fabulous site and blog belonging to a very talented and lovely lady called Niki at
I was so fascinated and impressed by Niki's vintage style and the whole flavour of her attractive web-site and blog so I emailed her and asked to be put on her mailing list.. (It was Niki & Nonnie who encouraged me to start a blog).
It just so happens that Niki and I live not a million miles from each other and we managed to meet at Shepton Mallet Flea Market in September.
Well this story has a very happy ending.. so I will continue...
Niki sells the most beautiful vintage homewares and crafts and has an extraordinary gift for making vintage items even more appealing! She has an incredible eye for detail and design and uses these skills to make very attractive cushions, bags, and many other vintage treasures but above all her very own trademark vintage fabric dolls..which are always a sell-out at her web store.
Well..I have had a roll of vintage fabric for some years and as I am unable to produce anything worthy with a needle and thread I thought this fabric should go to a good home and Niki was the person who came to mind as I knew that she would make good use of the beautiful material. Soooooo.... as a 'thank you' Niki offered to make me something as a memento from the fabric as it had once belonged to my mother..
I asked Niki if she would make me a fabric heart to hang in my boudoir as the colours were perfect. Yesterday I received the most beautiful gift of not only a very pretty fabric heart stuffed with Lavender but attached to it was one of Niki's very special handmade vintage dolls..with a fabulous dress made from some of the fabric I had given her.

I was so touched and overwhelmed by Niki's generosity and kindness..

She must have spent hours making the doll which is absolutely delightful from the hair down to the exquistely painted shoes and undergarments all made from lovely vintage material.

If you are not already familiar with Niki's blog or webshop then you must visit her..She is one of a kind! Very special.
Thank you so much Niki.. this doll will be treasured!