Thursday, September 30

a perfectly peachy weekend...

my dearies were everything my high hopes could wish for
and so much more...
they came from illinois, california, texas, montana,
louisana, canada, hawaii and even old blighty.
suitcases crammed with their own
high hopes,
vintage fabrics,
sewing machines,
crafty souls.
it would be quite true to say,
upon the moment i met
jessie, rita, debee, lou, diana, lyn,
i knew the handcrafted gods had smiled down on me.

as the weekend past,
holed up in our big old house on capitol hill, seattle,
we not only spent our waking hours wisely,
crafting apron wraps, vintage slips, bags, wall hangings and stools the dottie angel way,
but we also learnt
* everyone is important, even chickens
* random and wonky but never squiffy
* it is okay to keep canned pumpkin in vintage suitcases
* it is okay to be a vintage fabric geek
* granny chic is grand
* there is method to the madness
* never look left when going through customs

for me this has been an incredible experience
and one that i will never forget, a bit like a first love.
to be given an oportunity to meet like minded crafty souls en masse
after years of living in cyber world was such a treat.
since returning home to the shed,
i have been experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
for in the space of a few days,
my 12 'dearies of the utmost kind'
filled my world with their uniqueness, kindness and craftiness.
it would be quite true to say,
now they are gone,
i feel a little lost without them by my side...

of course we could not have 'beavered away' without nourishment.
angela, along with mary, whipped up a storm in the kitchen
and to everyones relief, not an orange meal insight.
indeed when mary was not in the kitchen
then she was my trusty assistant.
i think we all secretly wished to take mary home after the weekend.
even three days on,
i am still working on a cunning plan to have her move to mossy shed

there are plenty of photos for those that may wish to ganders.
i am quite sure many more will appear over the coming days
but for now you can take alooky

i am still a little gobsmacked even after a few days of being home...
to think so many lovelies took a chance on me and my dottie angel ways,
packed up their high hopes along with their imaginations
most peachy perfect indeed

she is thinking a nice dose of quality time with Miss Ethel will help cure her symptoms ~ Tif

Wednesday, September 22

a little crafty...

Miss Ethel developed a rather raspy rattle this morning,
whilst beavering away on some goodies
for my dottie angel dearies...

after my initial panic,
i calmed myself,
knowing this in turn may aid Miss Ethel.
for i did not need my panicking ways
to be caught by her.
i suggested she have two days of complete rest
and with 'high hopes' come saturday morning,
she will be back to her usual beavering ways.
(sometimes i think i was an ostrich in an earlier life)

piles of fabrics, lace and a lot of 'whatnots'
lay all around the shed,
ready for friday.

for friday is thee grand day!
it truly is a big thing for me.
i am giddy in a good way,
not a Mr Vertigo bad sort of way
but a slightly lightheaded,
terribly exciting giddy sort of way.
and indeed, i am a little nervous too.
however i am without doubt,
quite positively sure as sure can be,
this coming weekend,
12 dottie angel dearies and i
will be getting a little crafty...

she will be back next thursday,
until then,
she is wishing you a little crafty time too ~ Tif

Tuesday, September 21

42 and 1 day...

(warning : this post contains pictures from my local thrift store)

first and foremost,
thank you most kindly for your lovely birthday wishes!
you have been most thoughtful to me and my 42 year old self.

yesterday was a most peachy perfect day indeed.
Debbie's secretive secret work in the shed's kitchen
resulted in the most loveliest of lovely birthday cakes
complete with Cadbury's chocolate buttons.

we decided as it is not every day one turns 42,
it would be perfectly acceptable for us to not only
go to the local vintage mall,
but then pottle on down to the thrift store.
it seemed a most decadent thing to do...
and it certainly was a jolly good job we did

soon after entering the vintage mall
we stumbled across a little lost soul,
the little lost soul appeared most bewildered
upon close inspection it appeared his bewilderment was warranted.
his little pull along thread had been cut!!

'gasp, shock and a little bit of horror'

i said
"little lost doggie, do not cry nor be bewildered any longer,
come home with me to mossy shed
where i think i have a friend who will make you feel most at home."
and indeed since arriving back at the shed
little lost doggie with the cut off string is settling in most nicely.

Carlos my trusty camera, insisted on coming to the thrift store.
he felt it most important to capture the true size of my thrifty local,
for my lovely dearest readers.
as we were pottling around trying to get the best angle

it soon became clear we needed to disguise our intent,
therefore other thrifty folks would not think us complete bonkers.
pushing a cart along with us and filling it with goodies
seemed the perfect foil...

a nylon 'granny bed cover' kept distracting me from taking photos.
Debbie said i could ignore it no longer
it was speaking to me in the only way a granny chic item can.
i 'ummmed' and i 'ahhhhed'
then i thought
"well tis my first official day of being 42"
after making my monumental decision

we popped the contents of our cart
back on the shelves of despair,
(except for a few lovelies)
apologizing as we went about it.
Carlos then did his bit and we left homeward bound.

today it would appear Mr Lurgy has turned his attention to Debbie.
it is a horribly horrible thing to think Mr Lurgy
will now get a free ride on British Airways
and think of all those poor dearies in their seats
unknowingly becoming best friends with Mr Lurgy.
gosh he truly is a rotten scoundrel

we have tried to not think about such awfulness
and instead donned our 'elf workshop' hats.
Debbie has been in charge of cutting, pasting, typing and folding laundry,
i have been in charge of running around the shed like a headless chicken,
trying to find my 'dottie angel' workshop hat...
Debbie kindly ignored my headless state of mind

alas tomorrow my soul sister leaves and despite my heavy heart,
i must spend my day wisely
finishing up getting all my dottie angel goodness together
in preparation for this forthcoming friday

she is thinking next week will be a grand week to look back on her handcrafted secondhand year ~ Tif

Monday, September 20


a little bit younger
a little bit foolish
a little bit silly

a little bit older
a little bit wiser
a lot more silly

she is thinking there is no better way to spending her first day of being 42,
then with her soul sister ~ Tif

Sunday, September 19

the day before...

please excuse my unexplained absence...
when i awoke on friday morning, Mr Lurgy had me in a vice like grip,
thus our plans for the day were scrapped.
Debbie had to make do with crocheting in our lounge
instead of the 'blah and beige' waiting room of the DOL.
she kindly made no comments about my horribly horrible state of lurgyifiedness,
other than to offer me medicinal cups of tea and comforting words.
we watched several movies and put the world to rights.

today we made up for the little hiccup in our agenda
and headed into Fremont, Seattle.
i was still rather foggy brained
but we managed to pottle around the place quite happily
in our matching Clarks clog sandals.
(which my mother kindly gifted to me this summer)
upon seeing them, Debbie recognized them for what they were,
pretty sweet and comfy.
as one gets older,
words such as 'comfy' for footwear become spoken more frequently.
shortly afterwards we became clog twins who pottle well together.

i have no idea if the word 'pottle' exists
but i felt it described exactly our movements of this morning,
therefore i am now adopting it as my word of the week
i shall be sure to say in a loud voice every day
things like
"oh, how lovely the mail man has been, i shall pottle to fetch the mail"
or perhaps
"little olive, why do you look so suspicious, do you need to pottle outside for a visit"
then again
"gosh, is it friday already, i must pack my bags and pottle into Seattle to meet my lovely dearies"

now we are back holed up in the shed,
i am watching the rain turn into a small river outside my studio window.
indeed i am thinking i should say
"oh, i see the rain has pottled into a river outside my window"
whilst i am watching water pottle
Debbie is doing secrets in the kitchen.
secrets to do with my birthday tomorrow...
this is terribly exciting,
for it is not often someone does secretive secrety things in my kitchen
on my behalf.

she will be back tomorrow, another year older and perhaps quite possibly a little wiser ~ Tif
footnote: i am thinking in future to not cause light headiness for some readers, i will place a warning sign above any photos taken in my local thrift store. it has become such a norm for me, i did not think about what a shock to the system, aisle after aisle of such bounty, could cause.
so be warned before you read the next line... particularly if you are a Brit.
my thift store is the size of a medium Tescos or Sainsbury.
there are others i frequent that are the size of Tesco superstores.
quite unimaginable really...

Thursday, September 16


after braving the freeway in the rain to get to the airport,
Debbie, Our #2 and moi arrived safely back at the shed last night.
upon arrival i made Debbie a nice welcoming orange meal...
since getting up this morning we have
drunk tea
and nattered some more...
then dearest readers,
i am delighted to report
we got down to the business of thrifting.

i am not quite sure what Debbie will have to say
when she sees that Carlos my camera was stalking her
whilst she pottered along the aisles of forsaken china.
but this week i am in 'roving reporter' mode
(as we know, Tif likes her modes)

i was most delighted Debbie wore her green sweater
for there was no fear of losing her amongst the shelves of despair.
quite often i am unable to see what is lurking on the top shelf
but being lovely and tall, Debbie is most handy to have as a thrifting buddy

our little cart was soon filling up with treasures

so we discussed the merits of each and every find,
putting some back and spending our pennies wisely
for our week of fun has only just begun.

tomorrow, i am taking my soul sister to the exciting sights and sounds
of our local Department of Licensing 'beige and blah' office.
it has dawned on me with less than a few days until my birthday,
my drivers license will run out and then i will be in trouble.
i am not sure what kind of trouble
but none the less, the worry of possible trouble
is enough for me to drag her along for a morning of sitting in a waiting room.

however we will be wisely armed with our Mr Hooks to pass the time
and when the 'new license' is in my little mitts,
we will 'hoppity skip' it out of there
and straight to the thrift store i know of several blocks away

it may be raining outside the shed, but the sun is shining inside ~ Tif

Tuesday, September 14

more visitations...

yesterday afternoon more unwanted guests appeared inside of Mossy Shed.
i was first alerted to their presence by an unwanted buzzy thing going past my ear,
i ignored the little buzzy thing and pottered about my business.
ten minutes later all four windows in the downstairs of our shed
were filling up with pesky little buzzing blighters.

i can do moths (just)
i can do spiders (if they leave me alone)
i can do mouseys (cause they have nice little noses)
and at a push
i can do ants (although i try not to befriend them inside of the shed)
but dearest readers,
i do not,
will not,
possibly entertain the idea of a fly party in our nest.

presented with an abundance of them caused me quite a concern.
after all, splatting one or two flies is obviously not very nice for the fly
nor one's abode, the clean up never being pretty.
i counted over 30 flies upon my panes.
just the thought of swatting so many pesky visitors made me quite queasy.

"what to do Tif, what to do" i muttered away
whilst my boys, lurgified and quite revolting to be close to,
still managed to entertain thoughts of
a grand splattering party within the kitchen.
all the time a little bit of panic was welling inside.
if over 30 were visible then how many were not,
where was their hidey hole,
how many pairs of fly eyes were on me...

this is the moment i told my dear friend lola
i was most pleased to never have read nor seen Lord of the Flies.
i noted after several minutes of studying their behavior,
a few were drowsy, a couple perhaps drunk.
there was nothing for it,
i needed to bring in the big guns...
i reached for Dylan Dyson,
my trusty bagless vacuum cleaner with a cyclone thingy-me-jig.
he has served me well for over 7 years
and i knew he would not let me down in my hour of need.
for the rest of the evening Dylan Dyson was on high alert.
when the cry of "there's another" echoed around the shed
Dylan went to the rescue.

i went to bed last night,
most fretful i would wake to a shed taken over by flies.
this morning however i am delighted to report
only one pesky little blighter has been brave enough to show his face.
i am hoping word has got back to 'fly land'
and they realize the shed is not the place for their partying ways.

as i have come down from my 'high fly alert' state of mind
i have used my time wisely
hanging a few sprightly crocheted garlands in the shop window.
i have a few more to hang, but alas the scoundrel Mr Lurgy
has Our #3 in quite the vice like grip.
i have reclaimed him from school,
and am busy wearing my Florence Nightingale hat.
which i have noted is looking a little crumpled and tired of late...

she is beyond excited for tomorrow ~ Tif

Monday, September 13

two visitors...

this week we have two visitors at the shed,
one who was invited and one who invited himself.
Mr Lurgy, the scoundrel and the rotter, has taken advantage of my open garage door.
i believe he snuck right past me when the second out of three customers to come to our garage sale distracted me.
we were in the middle of haggling.
it was quite intense...
i had $4 on the item, she wished to pay $2
Mr Lurgy seized the moment and boldly walked on past, through the laundry door and into Mossy Shed.

so far he has claimed 2 and a half victims.
2 being Our #3 and #4
the half being moi.
i have no time for Mr Lurgy this week and so i am playing hard to get.

the other visitor to the shed is one we are welcoming with open arms
my soul sister Debbie is packing up her little case and winging her way across the pond on wednesday.
cheers of 'hoorays' have echoed around the shed for several weeks since the grand news.
my children see Debbie as the perfect house guest.
she makes their mother laugh and smile
she makes fabulous dinners and pots of tea all day long.
best of all
after 10 years of visitors coming to stay from across the pond,
we now have a space for guests to rest their weary heads.

'tis a bitter sweet moment for me.
for on the one hand i am joyous not to be moving Our #3 out of his bed
onto the couch with Used dog,
but on the other hand the reason for the extra space is because Our #1 is no longer here

(which you all know but i just mentioned it again, just in case somebody new came to visit here today and was quite lost. my man read a few posts on friday night and actually advised me it was quite possible someone stumbling upon my blog would be clueless as to what i was writing about.
"after all Tif, i am and i live here"
this in turn made me wonder if i need to put on my sidebar, a guide for newcomers. photos of Miss Ethel, Mr Shark, Used dog etc)

after that 'thought for the day' let us return to the pressing news of spaces...
when we returned from Old Blighty,
Our #1 had left a few days prior to take up residence across the pond.
she left behind a smallish square room void of her,
except for a closet, which housed her belongings left behind.

despite what folks may imagine,
i have never been allowed over the threshold of my children's rooms with a doily.
i have respected this and in turn they have respected my doilies elsewhere in the shed.
mutual respect of such issues is a wonderful thing within a clan.
however, upon leaving to make her way into the world,
Our #1 gave me the 'a-okay' to dottie angel her empty room.

so over the weekend, whilst allowing Mr Lurgy only half of myself
i went about making Our #1's room into a place for Debbie to stay when she arrives on wednesday.
it was a little odd and i was quite grateful for Mr Lurgy distracting me,
giving me no energy to sit and ponder the situation.
despite it looking so very different from when she lived in the space,
except the 30 year old carpet, which is yet to be tackled.
Our #1, upon seeing the photos, exclaimed she liked it
and would be most happy to stay in her old/new room when she returns for Christmas.
i am thinking that maybe just sweet talk for her mama,
but i am most happy to accept it.

she has counted 14 weeks until Christmas and thinking that doesn't sound too far away at all ~ Tif

Friday, September 10


my nose is running and my little toes are numb,
despite doing a sun dance it is tres chilly here today,
especially in my garage where i have been holed up all morning trying to sell it's contents.
i wore my hair in pippi longstocking style
donning 'fine and dandy' garage sale attire.
they were not lining up at the drive
nor did i require more than two hands to count the customers.
however i used my time wisely
and got it 'back on' with Mr Hook
that alone made the morning worthwhile.

over the past few days Miss Ethel has been earning her keep,
and hopefully a few sprightly crocheted garlands will be in the window shortly.
i am holding onto high hopes with the 'shortly bit',
as my computer is putting in another strike, probably because of Mr Shark.
(i am thinking it maybe time to name my computer)
so once again i shall use my patience where patience is needed
and hope tomorrow, having gone through a christening ceremony
my computer will feel a little more like sharing with me.

on another note,
and one that may cause some distress,
especially for any forsaken little souls waiting on the shelves of despair
who happen to be reading this ramble.
i am imagining when the lights are switched off and the doors are locked,
they hop off the shelves and go about for a little wander.
indeed it is most possible they come across a computer
somewhere out back in the stock room and cleverly turn it on...
perhaps because of that very reason
i should not tell what i am about to tell.
then again, if i tell in a whisper perhaps it will be okay.

i have been to the thrift store three times
since my thrifting buddy moved out of the shed.
all three times the pickings were total pants.

i am now wondering if Our #1
was my lucky thrift store charm
and without her by my side,
i have lost my rose colored spectacle vision
and with it,
the ability to spot a forsaken soul with potential has disappeared.

she is wishing you a really splendidly peachy weekend filled with crafty goodness and perhaps a little forsaken soul of your own ~ Tif

Thursday, September 9

the irony of it...

last week my iron of 10 years gave up the ghost.
since he departed this world i have come to realize his value.
i only ever use an iron when i am making things.
i see now i was a fool not to give my iron a name.
for indeed in hindsight, his value was equal to that of Miss Ethel...
i am actually rather teary thinking about my little iron now,
how for many years he did his job without complaint,
knowing others around him had names of affection
and yet he was known simply as 'the iron'.

needing my little bits of fabrics to sit flat
i headed to the thrift store to see what i could see.
as i was on a mission, i had no time to listen to the weight of my heart.
knowing i was to step through the thrift store door without Our #1 by my side
was something i was not prepared to linger on.
with 'a hoppity and a skippity' i was over the threshold
and transported into 'hunt mode'.

unfortunately the irons laid out upon the shelves of despair,
were indeed a despairing lot.
i picked them all up individually, peering at their bottoms
and twiddling with their bits.
one after the other, i replaced them with a sigh.
i returned to the shed empty handed and a little fretful.
after all, i was deep in 'making wares for the shop' mode
(obviously it would appear last week i was in quite the mode)

just taking a breather from beavering away on making stock for the shop,
could spell disaster for moi.
Mr Procrastinator, whom lurks in cupboards and around corners in the shed,
well he sees these moments and pounces when i am at my most vulnerable.
to avoid arousing suspicion from Mr Procrastinator, thinking i had weakened,
i said in a loud voice
"no worries Tif, i have a cunning plan... tra la la la" in a rather over the top squeaky sort of way.
i heard him sigh and step back to the shadows.

then continued a conversation inside my head with the little voice.
"so" said the little voice "what you gonna do Tif, after all you cannot buy a new iron"
i pondered my response
"well technically little voice you are wrong. for it is most clear since 'the iron' passed onto a better life, that he is a tool of my trade, a well needed little fellow that without, i am unable to make hand crafted goodness"
the little voice gasped, quite taken a back by my cleverness
"true, true... but still does it not make you feel like you have let yourself down"
oh! that little voice is so good at what he does.

the next day i spoke to my man,
and this dearest readers is where the 'irony' of the whole matter comes into play
(actually do you like how the word 'irony' is used in a tale about irons, i like that very much, it actually is the kind of thing to make me smile)
for many, you will already know the tale, others perhaps not.
nearly two years ago, i turned the big 4-0.
i will admit it was a struggle for me,
for i was not supposed to get to 40 as quickly as i did.
however the struggle was made worse for moi
now some may think me most ungrateful
but as i am totally crappity crap in the kitchen
i found to be gifted a kitchen gadget for turning 40
by someone who had 24 years to ponder his gift
was a little unfortunate.
the situation made a little worse by finding the receipt
and noting it had been purchased the day before.
however i can say no more, for there is closure on the issue.

actually before i say no more, can i just say,
not a day goes by when the panini maker isn't topic for conversation within the shed.
it has become the most loved piece of kitchen gadgetry we have...
Our #4 always asks "but surely mum after all this time,
you can see what a great gift it was?"
hoping one day i will cave and say "yes it was lovely wasn't it"
but i stand my ground and i stay strong,
advising him as only a mother to a son can do

"dearest child of mine, when you have been married for umpteen years
to the love of your life, do not be foolish enough to think a gift for the kitchen
is a gift worth giving.
whether you understand the wisdom of my words or not, is immaterial.
just heed them and heed them well"

roll on nearly two years and here i am talking to my man,
with the words 'the irony of it' going around and around my head.

"soooo" i began "you know my birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks"
to which he looked a little frightened.
i continued
"thing is, i know i gave you a really hard time over the panini maker but i have a situation here,
a situation that is causing me untold strife"
by now, i had his attention
"i was wondering if you may care to buy me a new iron and perhaps even better still, could i have it as an early birthday gift" i finished in a flourish and 'pretty please' grin

i have not seen the light in my man's eyes look quite so sparkly in quite the while.
i could see the cogs turning through them,
i could tell his little voice inside was chuckling at the irony of the situation.
here was his wife, whom declared with great voice
he was never ever to give her a household appliance for her birthday again,
was now requesting an iron for her 42nd birthday.

with that, he picked up the car keys,
drove me to the store,
stood for nearly an hour going through each iron on display,
discussing the merits and the disadvantages of each
whilst i pointed out the ones that would not do, due to their color.
after much debating,
i came to the conclusion the only one up for the job was The Shark.

my man kindly took The Shark to the till,
paid for him
drove us both home
promptly announcing when inside the shed,
with big grin on his face and sparkly stuff still in his eyes
"Tif, as it is nearly your birthday and i know you cannot do what you do without an iron,
i thought it quite nice if i gave you your gift early"
where upon he presented me with The Shark.

in the week that has past i have dallied with Mr Shark (his mossy shed name)
for quite a few hours.
he steams like i have never seen an iron steam before,
and he is a heavy weight for sure, causing me to pause between presses.
Our #2 when seeing his hunky silvery good looks exclaimed
"blimey mum, is your iron on steroids!"
to which i quipped
"no, but i may have to start myself, if i am to lift him everyday"

she is thanking you all so very kindly for the grand reception you gave her bigger than big news ~ Tif

Tuesday, September 7

a big day...

today is a big day,
it is full of big things,
big mountains of laundry,
big hair due to crappity crap weather,
big piles of fabric waiting to be crafted
and probably thee 'biggest thing' to happen to me, in many a year.

indeed my 'big thing' is so big for my little world
that i shaved my pasty pins in honor of its bigness.
i think right there tells how big of a thing it truly is.
for my pasty pins, with the lack of summer
have bypassed all attempts at looking lovely and golden,
and gone into premature hibernation.

i have spoken to my pasty pins this morning,
told them this will not do,
that Fall may appear to be all around
but we must do our best to maintain some level of 'pasty pins' pride.
once i had divulged to my pasty pins the bigness of the day,
they realized it was time to shape up.
and so dearest readers, with my smoothy pasty pins
i am most delighted to share my 'big peachy news' with you today.

"Tif, for crying out loud, could you just get on with it,
we have pea soup on the stove, homework to be finished
and indeed our own pasty pins to sort along with the laundry"
you say quite exasperated with moi.

quite right too! i have rambled enough
so without further ado,
my big news, ney terribly peachy bigger than big news
myself, my pasty pins and dottie angel are to be published!

i am trying to recall if i have ever had such a big thing happen to moi.
obviously i have had my share of grandness in parts.
i do recall a moment aged 12 on stage with my drama club,
then there was the time i played in the girl's brigade marching band in the Royal Albert Hall.
myself being the proud cymbal player.
and of course the moments my babies were born.

but a book!
now that is quite a different kettle of fish to get my head around...
indeed as i tippity type, my pasty pins are shaking somewhat!
and not just an ordinary book at that,
but an extraordinary book
made possible by the extraordinary talents of Janine Vangool

some of you may already know about UPPERCASE,
a wonderful magazine for the creative and the curious.
the likes of which i had never seen before,
until my soul sister Debbie gifted me a subscription...
and that dearest readers led to a 'happening of the utmost kind'.
Janine, the creative wonder behind UPPERCASE
also dabbles in publishing and designing books,
the type of books you wish 'to have and to hold'
and only ever lend to a friend when they have signed on the dotted line,
agreeing to treat it with the care and respect it so deserves.

one of these books is The Suitcase Series, Volume One
featuring the wonderful world of Camilla Engman.
when i read Camilla's book i could see firsthand
to be an artist in The Suitcase Series is a wonderful thing indeed.
for the book captures in glorious detail
the lives of artists and designers from around the world,
as Janine says herself, the books in this series are precious souvenirs of a creative journey
shared between the artist and the reader.
and so it is with great excitement and may i say a few tears of joy,

to be published in early summer 2011!!

the book is available for pre-order alongside three other wonderful books to be released over the coming months
all four books are being offered as a book bundle from UPPERCASE

i have mentioned the book to
Miss Ethel my trusty sewing machine
Carlos my camera,
Mr Hook,
the chickens in the yard,
little olive and Used dog,
the kitty cats,
speedy with his shell
and indeed

they have all looked back at me and my pasty pins, in silence...
i am taking their silence as a sign of how big this moment is in our lives we share together,
they are at a loss for words.
to see their ordinary lives living in suburbia with a slightly nutty woman
of an uncertain age,
who walks a crafty path each day
whilst dreaming of living dottie angel's life,
being made into a book
is a little too much for them to take in, after all it is only the begining of the week.

she is wondering if samuel whiskers in the attic wishes to be informed ~ Tif