Friday 11 January 2013

Charity Shopping, a little Cycling, Crochet and Christmas review

I've not been noticing many charity shopping posts on blogs recently. Perhaps it's not something people blog about any more, though I have to say I always like to see what treasures people have found, even if it's something I don't personally like. Media-wise it has become the in-thing to be on the lookout for vintage and thrifty finds, perhaps bloggers have now moved on to something new. Or perhaps there's just nothing good to be found in charity shops any more - a combination of more buyers looking for the same things, or more sellers using ebay, aware now that they can get money for their "junk". I always pop into a charity shop if I'm passing - you just never know what might be in there! I was feeling that I'd had slim pickings recently, but I collected together my bargain buys for the last month and was pleasantly surprised...

I now realise I have a "Thing" for pottery jugs, perhaps I am a collector. The darker one was £4. The stoneware one was quite pricey at £8. The first time I saw it in the shop I wasn't prepared to spend that much on a jug. I kept thinking about it though, and decided to return for it with some of the money I'd got for Christmas. After all, all proceeds are for a good cause too (another thing I like about charity shops). This was during the school holidays so off I set with the children in tow. We were going to Lidl first but we only made it as far as Lidl carpark - poor A trapped her finger in the car door, cue much shrieking, tears and blood so it was home again. However, earlier this week N & I tried again, and the jug is now ours. The pottery bowl was £1, and the tealight holder 49p. (And A's finger is a little black under the nail but isn't hurting)

Also we have... a smelly M&S candle (50p) and two funky pillowcases (each 40p).

So, not bad at all.

Now to some photos from a little outing N and I took on Wednesday. We took N's bike. I was hoping we'd cycle/walk to the nearby bird sanctuary and I could take some photos en route. N had other ideas...

 ... at first it looked as though we'd be at the playpark and nowhere else. It's quite a good playpark but it's not in a terribly scenic location. While N was playing I took a photo of part of the old lemonade factory, I liked the different shades of blue. Then I resorted to bribery - a promise of an icecream at the cafe beside the loch did the trick. The cafe is in the opposite direction to the bird sanctuary, but is still reached by a path through the nature reserve.

Off we go (he's not a keen cyclist, unlike the rest of us)

 Within a hundred yards the surroundings change from rundown buildings to attractive lochside scenery.

 I find it surprisingly colourful for this time of year.
The water level is quite high. The gulls appearing to perch in a row are all sitting on the kerb beside the lower (underwater) path.

He has a push-up ice lolly thingmajig. I have a hot choclate and we share a pack of shortbread. The cafe is in a fantastic location and is in a fabulous building with plenty of seating space and a gift shop area. However, I do feel it could be so much better - real crockery instead of paper cups, home baking instead of mass-produced packets of biscuits, locally made crafts in the gift shop instead of imported tat...

Returning to the car park we pass the resident whooper swan - notice how yellow his bill is compared the the mute swan behind him. He has a damaged wing so remains here all year instead of migrating.

The pink footed geese visiting for the winter were pecking busily at the grass.

Later that evening...

...we had a fiery sunset, these photos were taken at about 4:15pm, just as we were heading out to A's piano lesson.

Now to yesterday, a misty day.

 Perfect for enhancing spiderwebs,

but not great for light levels. It's gloomy again today.

A quick look at some crochet progress. I'm  making another crescent moon shawl, this time for one of my sister-in-law. Progress has been slow - I started it away back in June. It's only now that it's almost finished (the edging takes ages!) that I'm liking it. I think I even prefer it to the first one I made, it's a better colour for everyday wear but less interesting in the making.

And lastly, a look back to the days after Christmas and at the New Year. I have to say it seemed that Christmas passed very quickly this year. I felt I was always on the go and getting things done, which is fine, but I do like a wee moment at Christmas to sit and look at the tree and Christmas lights and enjoy the Christmas sounds and smells. I must be more organised next year (no last minute crocheting of very long cuddly snakes would probably help!).

Here are the books I got for Christmas 2012.

I've started reading Nella Lasts's War and am enjoying it - just the kind of everyday detail that I like. I've finished reading Home and I enjoyed this too, it's not just pretty pictures of homes - the best aspect of the book are the memories and opinions of/on homes from the contributors. ReCraft seems OK as craft books go. The Art of Handmade Living is rubbish and will be offered to friends or taken to the charity shop. I haven't looked at the Jane Brocket one yet but I enjoyed her Knitting and Quilting books and expect this will be similar. Celebrate has lots of nice pictures in it, I only requested it once it was in the £6 range as I didn't feel I could justify it otherwise.

Aren't these the prettiest chocolates? I've been trying to cut down on sugar, but did say that a small box of nice chocolates would be welcome among any Christmas gifts - quality not quantity is more important to me now! Hubby gave me these, they're from Kimbles and they tasted absolutely delicious too.

The dining room set for New Year's Day. We went to friend's for Hogmany and had Grandad to visit at New Year.
The little nativity scene is now back in it's matchbox and packed away along with most of the other decorations - I'm still finding the odd forgotten ornament around the house.

And I did finally make some more snowflakes, but these will need to wait till next year before being displayed.


Cybèle said...

I love the second photo of the sunset - gorgeous!
Christmas was over all too quickly here too. In a way I'm glad to be back in a routine but I'm missing having the kids around. We've got snow forecast for this weekend, which will wreak havoc with my Sunday morning bike ride which I've come to look forward to so much!
Lovely post!

Julie said...

The jug was meant to be yours, poor old A tho'! My favourite thing to buy from charity shops is stoneware, I have three little mugs which I adore....and have been on the lookout for more. And a jug, I love the darker one. Juliex

Anonymous said...

Oh I love a good charity shop find! The misty garden shot is lovely, looks like there should be some fairies in there.

Gillian Roe said...

Lovely things in your post today. I like to see other's charity shop finds, too - just out of nosiness if nothing else! I heard that charity shop donations have fallen a lot as people are hanging on to things for longer or selling them. A sign of the times I guess.

I was given Celebrate for xmas too (and only asked for it when I knew it was £6 in smiths!) and have been pleasantly surprised by it - lots of nice recipes and some good ideas in there, although less glossy photos of the author would be good. Don't think it's worth £25 though!

Gillian x

Rattling On said...

Definitely a collector of studio pottery now! I think it's great when you have something in particular to look for. Stops some of the random buying 'because it's a bargain'!!

Anonymous said...

I can never resist a good looking jug either, I have quite a few.

Your pictures are, as ever, lovely.

susie said...

Anne, I love your beautiful pictures :) always !
Your sister-in-law must be happy to get such a pretty shawl.
I am making one for my sister-in-law now. Anne and we didn't arranged this :))
Have a lovely weekend ..

Lyn said...

I love this post so full of everyday life and your beautiful photography. Xxx

Mairéad said...

You've got some treasures there - I love the pottery jugs. I've only just started hunting in charity shops & already have found a few interesting bargains.

Mereknits said...

So much beauty in every photo. Looks like a beautiful few days.

Lulu said...

love the the gloomy part also...:-)

Neighborhood Watch said...

Your comment about the paper cups in the cafe made me smile in agreement. Part of the pleasure of a cafe, to me, is in the presentation of the product. (Like those chocolates--mmm!)

rockinloubylou said...

Poor little A. Hope the damage doesn't affect the piano playing. Absolutely agree about cafes with rubbish plates and imported tat. Would be so enjoyable to make a cafe inviting rather than just functional. Also, like you, I did not have that quiet moment to just enjoy the tree this Christmas. Next year I am determined to take it all a bit easier, relax and have fun.

Anonymous said...
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buydealz said...

I like the chocolates and snow flakes very much.

Annie Cholewa said...

How lovely that the jug was still there ... it had your name on it, clearly!

The chocs look lush ... very tempting :D

Patricia said...

I do like a good charity shop find. As we have the merest of mere dusting of snow here in Essex I think I might have a trawl round this afternoon. It's so cold but feel the need to get out of the house. Love your photos.

* said...

Such a lovely newsy blog, I don't tend to do charity shops as I never find things, it could well be me, and not the shops....I love furniture places, especially auctions and I definitely have a thing for chairs, always imagining I could turn my and to upholstering etc....

Your cycle looked lovely, I never know what the different swans are, I keep saying I will find out more, although I'm not sure we have more than one type. You ought to suggest to the cafe they may do well with some craft things for sale, I have always wanted to have a tea shop with nice cakes with a gallery of local artists....not sure if it so I could eat cakes and look at art all day long.

Great spiderweb pic.

Your Christmas books look great, I like a good crafty book and a cook book to boot too, although I already ave rather to many!

Sarah said...

I am always looking at your blog and enjoy it but have never commented. I am always struck by many similarities between the things we like so I thought I should finally say hi! I was driven to do this by the charity shop thing. I love charity shops and often find great things! Only yesterday I got two old wool blankets for £2 each, an old blue enamel teapot in very good condition for £1.50 and an amazing spaceman action man toy for school. I also got a small collection of snails to give my Mum for her birthday in July. Great places!


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