27 December 2011

Bad Gifts

I've been really lucky this year.  Except for a broken bracelet I've been really spoiled with wonderful and thoughtful gifts.  My best gift is that my husband has 12 days off of work!

I'm not planning on posting much this week, but I thought I would share a link to a funny website Why Did You Buy Me That? Have you ever gotten a gift so bad that it's down right funny?

And of course, this clip from Jimmy Kimmel, who persuaded parents to give their kids bad gifts as a joke. 

19 December 2011

Thifty Finds: Mega Haul Edition

When I first started to buy utility china my husband thought I was a bit nuts, but he understood that it wasn't expensive and that I needed something to do.  When it began to arrive and he could hold it, I think he started to like it.  Soon he was looking for Woods Ware eBay sales and helping me scan the shelves of charity shops. 

About 6 weeks ago a massive amount of Woods Beryl went up on eBay.  I joked about it because I knew it would be more than we usually spend on a single option and it was for pickup only, in Blackpool, 4.5 hours away.  He said lets go for it, that a weekend away would be nice.  Shock of all shocks, we won the auction.  Unfortunately the person we bought it from didn't exactly install confidence in us and due to his lack of communication we ended up having to postpone our original trip by about a month. 
When we picked it all up, there wasn't really time to check out exactly what we had.  It wasn't until the next day, after three loads in the dishwasher.  We just kept washing and refilling and thinking this has got to be it, when in fact there was another box.  All together we got 189 pieces of Woods Ware Beryl, which pretty much completes that part of the collection.  The only thing I'd like to get is a toast rack. 

What do you think of my jugs?  All together we have about 7.
 Oddly, out of all of those tea cups only one is a coffee cup. 

We're not even sure what some of the stuff is for.  

We never planned on keeping all of this and once we figure out which bits we want the rest will be going on eBay in the New Year.  If anyone is interested in the auctions let me know and I'll tell you my eBay name. 
Please tell me that you've gone a bit overboard on occasion?
I’m going to link up with Her Library Adventures and Flea Market finds, Magpie Monday at Me and my Shadow, and Thrift Share Monday at Apron Thrift Girl.

16 December 2011

Being a Winner

Last night was a first in our house.  My husband was away for the night at a work party an hour north.  I missed him and had problems sleeping.  It was really nice when I came downstairs this morning to find an envelope on my floor. 

A couple of weeks ago I won a giveaway on Bugs and Fishes and today it arrived in the mail!  I won several bits from Deborah over at Champignons.co.uk.   
 I love the notebook and the bird in cage game.  I know its not an ornament, but I've stuck it on my Christmas tree.  The bunny print will be framed and hung somewhere in our house once we have painted. 

 There were also a few cards in the package as well.  These are the hardest to use because I'm selfish!  I'd like to keep them all to myself, but cards are meant to be sent to others!  I'll have to pick very special people indeed to receive these!

15 December 2011

Christmas List

Kathryns Christmas List

Here's my first attempt at using Polyvore.  I'd  be thrilled to see any of these things under my tree in just over a weeks time.  Has anyone else prepared a Christmas list?

14 December 2011

Secret Santa

Yesterday I got my Pretty Much Penniless Secret Santa wrapped up and in the mail.  Clearly I won't be winning any points for wrapping.  When it comes to wrapping gifts, some people have it and some people don't.  I don't.  Hopefully my the person I sent this to will be able to ignore the poor packaging and will enjoy the gifts inside.

Did you participate in a Secret Santa, or Pollyanna as they call in in New Jersey, this year?

12 December 2011

Very Blue Thrifty Finds

The past week has definitely been above average in the thrifty finds/utility china department.  On the advice of a fellow blogger (whose post I now can’t find) I spent Friday at Portobello Road.  I had a blast checking out all the different stalls while sipping some mulled wine. 

I couldn’t help but get a bit annoyed by some of the tourists that seem to have no concept that there are in fact other people walking along the street too.  This is where the New Yorker comes out of me and I start just walking through people after I’ve said excuse me and been ignored more than twice.  Once the fruit market bit evolved into the boot sale bit most of the tourists seem to have lost interest. 

Towards the end, and actually not on Portobello Rd anymore, but on a side street, I found a stall that was less a stall and more of a gathering of about 30 boxes chuck full of plates, tea cups and random glass bits.  I spent ages diligently picking through all of it, minding the broken glass. I came up with two Barratts Delphanic Blue bowls and four Johnson Bros Greydawn tea saucers.  I was still working out in my head how much I was willing to pay for each piece when they stall owner told me that it would be £1 for the lot.  I quickly handed him the pound and moved on before he could change his mind!

This was a total rush and as I was checking out the other stalls I kept thinking how finding that thing you really want from a thrift stop is a type of drug.  I began to wonder when I would get my next fix and how I could make it happen more quickly.  Does anyone else feel this way?

Luckily, I have eBay and several bits and pieces, all blue, found their way to my home this week.  The kind mailman brought me a Woods Ware Iris teapot which we had won for just £5 in one package and in another I got 4 tea cups, two saucers, a bowl, bread plate and a side plate.


Our last purchase was a Woods Ware Iris dinner plate.  The picture here shows it against another Iris piece.  It’s not quite the same shade of blue, but it’s not green either.  It’s a bit odd, but I still love it. 

I’m going to link up with Her Library Adventures and Flea Market finds, Magpie Monday at Me and my Shadow, and Thrift Share Monday at Apron Thrift Girl.

09 December 2011

Tis the Season...

For entertaining with stupid amounts of homemade cookies!

I've been very busy baking and forgetting to take pictures for my blog but I can give you the links to all of these cookies.

The ones on the top are Hershey Kiss cookies.
Then some  gingerbread on the bottom (or as I like to call them 4 letter word cookies).
And the sparkly and white ones are the same sugar cookies.  I'm really proud at how the white ones came out, but I don't like the taste of royal frosting!

The light colored ones are shortbread.  This was my first go at these and they are yummy!
Then we've got some snicker doodles from a fellow American expat.  If you make these I would suggest adding extra flour, my first batch turned into one massive super cookie. 
I got this recipe for white chocolate and cranberry from Turquoise Lemons, one of my favorite blogs. And last but not least, coco crinkle cookies. 

Has anyone else been baking up a storm?  What are you making?

08 December 2011

Being New Here

The other day I was walking to the supermarket and guess what I saw?  The milkman!  It was amazing and something that I had never seen before outside of the TV.  It reinforced this idea that there is something old timey about the UK, something that has been lost in the States. 

My husband always seems a bit annoyed when I say that the UK is a bit old fashioned.  (That might not be the best word choice and I’m open for ideas on a new descriptive word.)  The thing is this is one of the reasons why I’m so happy to be here.  Of course, I’m thrilled to be with my husband after 2.5 years of a long distance relationship as well.  However, he could have been from anywhere and I would have moved there too.  I feel lucky that I’ve ended up in the UK.

I love that we cook more often from scratch because there just aren’t as many partial made food options here.   Not having frozen oj from concentrate is very annoying though. I love that the mailman is on a bike in my neighborhood.  I do find the plugs to be large and a bit awkward, but they don’t pull out of the wall the way the American plugs do.   I love that my 60 year old house, young by UK standards, still has some of the original touches that I find lovely and quirky.    

I also love the appreciation of the past that people have here.  Old buildings are saved, long dead historical figures have name plaques on walls, and pubs fight for the oldest distinction. 

Perhaps I’m just in my immigration honeymoon phase, but I hope that when I find things frustrating or strange here, that I look outside and see the milkman and remember why I love it here so much.