Please join me on Facebook(Beardog and Joolz), Pinterest (Beardog) and Tumblr (Naughty Naked Bear).

Sunday, 26 June 2011

On being dumped...

Where is the love of my life? Good question.

 I spent the early evening and late night with my lovely friend who has just been dumped. When you are young, 18 going on 24, you can shrug off being dumped and be back on the saddle before you've barely hit the ground. When you are in your thirties going towards 40, it's not so easy. It stings. For women there is that biological clock ticking away and the additional pressure of parents-seeking-grandchildren asking questions like "When are you going to find a nice young man?" Lately those questions have an edge of desperation, "When are you going to find a bloke, what ya playing at? " So to be dumped and to be dumped by text is not nice for a girl in her mid thirties.

My friend and I discussed the 'moral efficacy' of dumping by text and we decided by unilateral vote of two that it is wrong. Essentially unless the relationship was conducted via text messaging, then the break up shouldn't end via this means...its cowardice! As my friend said, he turned up for the sex in person!

My friend and I discussed why relationships are hard to find, hard to keep and hard to be without. I focused on the hard to keep bit, although after years of being married, I guess I just wanted some praise  or to be awarded the Nobel Peace prize for tolerance beyond most human's endurance, but that was a momentary relapse into fantasy and obviously I deserve what I've got. Anyway back to my friend, she said it was difficult to meet men, so I asked her to assess how she had been meeting men before and it was all randomness, " in a pub, in  a club, being blind drunk at a mate's party..." that kind of thing. Now randomness is great when you're young, time is on your side and you have  the lifestyle (loads of cash, no mortgage yet) and energy to support endless rounds of 'going out'. As you get older you acquire or have them forced upon you: bills, mortgages, car loans, weak ankles, being tired at 4pm and an increasing interest in knitting! (That last one is just me, my friend wants me to point out she has NEVER been interested in knitting) The point is, randomness is just not working because here she is at 35 and no boyfriend and no baby. My advice, (apart from telling her she is lucky, no pongy nappies, no sulking etc : this applies to both man and baby) you have to plan finding the right guy, yes he is out there, but you have to find him. You can't wait to bump into him outside the post office. However he may live in New Zealand so he'll never ever happen to be walking past your post office, just as you step out of the door and bang: fall straight into his arms, stare up  to see his dazzling white smile and dangerously deep blue eyes.  The truth? Plan finding your bloke like you would the perfect pair of shoes, leave nothing to chance. Be realistic, gorgeous, rich, tall, intelligent men are rare (Yes I know I have such a husband but we can't all be as lucky as moi.) Lower your sights a little, after all I have heard that not so gorgeous, not so bright, not so tall middle class men can be a fun and attractive dates. Scratch that, I am being a bitch, there really are lots of nice normal blokes out there that never get a look in because we women have been conditioned to expect tall, dark, rich and gorgeous. I know a few women who have got such rare creatures as husbands and boyfriends and they report the same nasty behaviour, farting in bed, picking nose in car and talking with their mouths full, not to mention ( so I shall)  forgetfulness of birthdays and smelly socks left on the kitchen table (why?) all the usual habits that are afflicted upon all women by all men in relationships. So good looking or not, a pert bum does not a thoughtful husband make. Here ended the lesson, I am bored with myself.....

PS: I am looking for a lovely playmate for my beautiful, blonde, extremely intelligent, slim, funny and sincere friend. Must be tall dark and gorgeous...failing that just be nice.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Being Boring

Being Boring
Wendy Cope

If you ask me 'What's new?', I have nothing to say
Except that the garden is growing.
I had a slight cold but it's better today.
I'm content with the way things are going.
Yes, he is the same as he usually is,
Still eating and sleeping and snoring.
I get on with my work. He gets on with his.
I know this is all very boring.

There was drama enough in my turbulent past;
Tears and Passion - I've used up a tankful.
No news is good news, and long may it last.
If nothing much happens, I'm thankful.
A happier cabbage you never did see,
My vegetable spirits are soaring.
If you're after excitement, steer well clear of me.
I want to go on being boring.

I don't go to parties. Well, what are they for,
If you don't need to find a new lover?
You drink and you listen and drink a bit more
And you take all the next day to recover.
Someone to stay home with was all my desire
And, now that I've found a safe mooring,
I've just one ambition in life: I aspire
To go on and on being boring.
(picture from Period Living)

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Car Boot Booty

For £6 this what I got:

Will work on these over next few weeks and hope to blog the results.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Painting with Annie Sloan chalk paint

This paint makes restoring furniture very simple, it is easy to use and drys very quickly. The wax allows for brilliant finishes.
This is a pine shelving unit in our downstairs cloak room, it isn't terrible but looks much better with a brush with Paris Grey:


Had a go painting India, my horse's head which was originally a very dark wood, it looks entirely different with a coat of Old White and dark wax.

An old pine chair bought and made in the 80's was looking a little tired, a coat of Duck Egg Blue over a base of Old White brought it back to life! Now it looks fantastic in my office.

Went a little crazy and did some innocent candle sticks with Old White, they looked just as lovely before but if anything stand still for long enough I'll paint it!


This old mirror was bought for 50 pence at a car boot sale and after a bit of Duck Egg Blue, I sold it for £7 at Hoveringham Vintage Fair. Not bad since it took about half an hour to do and used virtually no paint!


I will have plenty more restoration projects coming up, planning on painting my pine settle and hall table, so watch this space.

Making soap...

If you can cook then there is no reason why you can not make your own soap. I like to make my own soaps because I am able to ensure that it is pure, safe and gentle enough to use on babies and toddlers. Most commercial soap makers use questionable synthetic fragrances, preservatives, chemicals and animal fat in their soaps.  In addition making your own soap from scratch is very satisfying!! I have enjoyed making soap for our business but also just for me and hubby and the family to enjoy. It also makes your house smell wonderful. So why not give it a go, its easier than you imagine.

 It's a good idea to get all your equipment, ingredients together and your choice of  mould greased and lined before you begin.

 It will make the whole process less fraught and you will feel more confident. I would also recommend that you read through the method first before you start instead of as you go along. I am going to make a basic soap, but if you get hooked on soap making you'll find that there are loads of books with recipes for all kinds of soap!! Olive oil castile soap is very moisturising, as are milk based soaps. This soap recipe is also moisturising and kinder to your skin than any soap you could buy in the supermarkets.

 For a basic soap you will need the following:

615g coconut oil (solid) You could substitute some of the coconut oil for beeswax which helps makes a firmer bar of soap.
670g sunflower oil and the same of olive oil.
295g caustic soda (lye)
930ml still mineral water

You can also add essential oils, cosmetic colourants and other supplements for example: rose petals, calendula petals or poppy seeds.

 Water and oil measurements have to be approximate and it is essential that the caustic soda is measured with exacting accuracy. Care should be taken using caustic soda as it will burn the skin on contact, happily after the curing process it is completely harmless.

Okay to get started, melt the solid fats first in a large pan, then add the liquid oils and remove from the heat.  Put water into a large plastic bucket. Weigh the caustic soda  and pour directly into the water, stirring constantly.

Using the thermometers ensure that oils and lye water are both at 35-36.7C/95-98 F.

When they are both at this temperature, add the lye water to the oils. This is the start of the saponification process. Stir continuously until the soap traces or in other words thickens and becomes opaque. You will know it is ready when the impression of a line of soap can be seen on the surface after drizzling from a spatula.

Depending on the oils used, temperature of the room, how vigorously you stir, tracing can take a matter of minutes or an hour or two. 30 -40 minutes is the average time.

Add colours, supplements if using, then essential oils, while stirring.

 I made a marble soap, so added some colour to the mixture in a separate jug and stirred.

Pour into prepared mould which should be lined and greased.

I added the coloured soap to the mould and swirled to make a random pattern.

Cover with sheets of cardboard and thick towels. Set for 24 hours.

I used Lemon Peel Granules and Calendula petals as supplements and deep pink colourant. The essential oils I used were: Cinnamon Leaf, Tea Tree, Sweet Fennel, Lemon, Linaloe Wood, Peppermint and Basil to create my favourite soap Naughty Naked Bear.

After 24 hours we demould the soap on to greaseproof paper.

Wear gloves as the soap will still be caustic. Peel the greaseproof paper lining from the soap, then cut into bars. Leave to cure for 6-7 weeks in a warm dry place on waxed paper.

This is what they look like after being cut into bars:


You can wrap and label your bars of soap if you wish once they have cured.

There are lots of websites, suppliers and books available to help you quickly became skilled at soap making.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Watching the world wander by...

Sometimes it is just nice to sit and watch the world meander pass, even if that world consists of your dog and birds and bees, or the scurry of the wind in tree tops and the low hum of a lawn mower.  Had a rest from frantic living today and counted my blessings.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

with a little paint...

I have a perfectly good pine chair...boring and a bit orange. Here is the chair with nearly a complete first coat of Old White:

Here it is with Duck Egg Blue and a coat of clear wax and a bit of distressing:

A close up of the distressed bits:

With cushion:

And indoors: