susan sharpe ceramics

Every week the Etsy team I’m with are having a shop of the week.

We all publicise the shop, and when it’s my turn everyone does the same.

It’s good to see the products that other team members make.  And how talented they are.

This is the first shop.

It’s run by Dayz and she makes lovely jewellery.  I bought my daughter some of her earrings at Christmas and they are lovely.

Here is some of Dayz’s work.

See what I mean, beautiful, lovely and stunning.

Dayzee Love

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How did you eat yours?

On Monday night/Tuesday morning I awoke suddenly in the small hours in a cold sweat.  That horrible feeling curling in my tummy that you get when you know you have forgotten something important.  Pancakes.  I had completely failed to connect ‘Shrove Tuesday’ on the calendar with the day that was about to dawn.  I knew from previous years failures that I was likely to find some, but not all, of the things that I needed for this momentous annual occasion.

I had arranged to spend the morning shopping with my Mother-in-Law.  This would not, however, provide an opportunity for the purchase of pancake ingredients.  Instead we spent hours looking in every charity shop in Redcar.  My aching feet were testament to the fact that this particular high street does indeed have a lot of charity shops.  By the time we had inspected them all, collected her shih tzu from the pet parlour (don’t ask) and dropped her off home I had to rush to my kids school.  They had arranged an afternoon of pancake racing and eating.

The first opportunity to find out how much of an epic fail I had been on the pancake front was on the way home from school.  Luckily the local shop did not let us down too much.  We found eggs, milk and flour without any problem.  I was amazed to see they still had some lemon juice.  We chose two types of ice cream – double chocolate and toffee.  Then we hit the fail button.  No golden syrup or maple syrup.  Honey was chosen as a very poor substitute.

The kids did a fantastic job of making the mixture

 

I was in charge of cooking and making sure our pancakes were the perfect shape

Callum was eager to show us his master ‘flipping’ skills

Can you guess how the first pancake ended up?  Yep, making a lovely greasy mess on my kitchen floor.  Callum also declared that he had a brilliant way of picking up the offending mess to put it in the bin.

Yep Son, I have always found a knife and fork to be the best solution to a big gooey mess on the floor!!

However Callum did turn out to be very good at flipping pancakes.  That was his only miss of the day, luckily.  We wanted pancakes, and lots of them!!

Caitlin went for a honey and sugar combination on her pancakes.  Although I would argue that this was more sugar than pancake!!

Callum went for ice cream with his.

I went for the classic lemon and sugar on mine.  Although I did have a sneaky couple of spoonfuls of ice cream in between 🙂

At the end of the cooking session my kids and my kitchen were a mess.  We were all stuffed and feeling slightly sick.  And I would have to work hard to argue the nutritional value of the food I had given my kids for their tea.  But we had enjoyed ourselves.  Epic win.  Cant wait to do it all again next year 🙂

Can I tell you about Mavis?

There is someone special to me.  And if you had asked me 10 years ago or even 5, what did I think of her the answer would have been very different from the one I would give you today.

She is Mavis, and she is my mother in law.  I first met her nearly 18 years ago.  I was a young 18 year old and I had just moved in with my boyfriend, her son.  It was a Bank Holiday Monday and I wasn’t very well.  We had been driving around Portsmouth looking for a pharmacy that was open.  When we got home there was a man and a woman sitting on our doorstep.  I didn’t know who either of them were.  It was his mother and brother.  I was more than a little surprised considering they lived more than a 6 hour drive away from us and we had no idea they were coming.  Phil introduced us to which his mother looked me up and down.  “So that’s Emma, is it” was the only thing she said before preceding me into my house.  She then set about cleaning it.  Probably not the best of meetings!

Over the years we have had our ups and down.  When we told her we were getting married she started to cry.  She told Phil he could do much better than me.  Thanks!  Mavis always has an opinion on everything and everybody.  And she is not afraid to tell you.  She is set in her ways with old fashioned views and values, but she is who she is, and if you fight that then you are never going to get anywhere with her.

But over the years our relationship has changed.  From pure hostility through to comfortable tolerance and now I would say almost friendship!  She helped me through University by looking after the children for me and helping with the household chores.  And recently whilst I have been off work she has been great for company and an ear to listen. She will, of course, tell you what she thinks you should do, but its fine.  I just smile and nod now and go away and do what I wanted anyway without a huge argument.

The thing that I really wanted to tell you about Mavis is how talented she is.  I have a few of her things in my shop and I never cease to be amazed at what she can produce and in such a short time.  The first things she gave me were some gorgeous blankets, one suitable for a girl and two that could be for a boy or a girl.  I adore these and they make fantastic heirlooms for the future.

  

Now I know if I was to try and make one of these not only would it look awful because I just am not as good at knitting and crochet, but it would also take me a year to make each one.  The hours not only to knit the squares, but to crochet the edges and embellishments, to sew them all together and to add the quilted back and the ribbons.

She then gave me loads of knitted headbands.  My daughter loves these and wears the ones her Nana made her to school everyday.  I have lots of them, but only listed a few in the shop.  Each one that Mavis makes is different, a one of a kind.  She doesn’t work to any patterns so she just does what she feels like.  So the pattern or colour combinations are all different.  They look fabulous on too.   Here are just a selection.

   

Then she worked her magic with an old piece of cotton and turned it into a handbag.  I love this and am keeping my eye out for some nice fabric so she can make me one.  If you have anything you would like turning into a bag let us know!

  I know she has plans for more bags so watch out for them in my shop!

Recently Mavis has been making hair accessories and she has given me loads.  I have just listed a few in my shop.  Here are some of them.

  

I am hoping that she will show me how to make the fabulous up-cycled bags.  She just looks at an item and knows how to make her own version.  Genius.

She still growls at me, and gives her opinion when I don’t necessarily want it.  Now my only regret about our relationship is that it took me so long to work out what a great person she actually is!

Serendipity

Do you believe in luck or fate? All those little decisions that we make everyday that can change the path of our life without even realising. What if we had chosen differently?

This week has been half term and any parents will know February half term is the worst of them all as far as being able to get out and about is concerned. October is ok because the weather is usually still reasonable enough for outdoor activities. Christmas whizzes by in a blur of family, food and presents. Easter, being in the spring is full of promise with egg hunts & trips here and there much more possible. But February is cold, and it’s dark and there is usually still snow about which can leave you wanting to do nothing but hibernate in front of the tv.

This half term we did try to get out and about a bit but it was a disaster really. We used our National Trust membership to visit a property, but we didn’t get in the house & the grounds were still thick with snow. We ended up wandering around in the snow for a few hours, had a picnic in the car & went home cold & miserable.

We went to the seaside at Redcar another day. We couldn’t get to the beach properly because the council were building new sea defences. There was a biting wind blowing so we quickly found shelter in an amusements. This, at least was great fun. £2 each & over an hour of fun on the 2p machines. The excitement of winning a lolly when it has been teetering on the edge for ages!

So when my son wanted to go to crazy golf later in the week I was more than a little reluctant. It was still cold & windy, it kept trying to rain & I only had a vague idea of where the golf was. I tried to persuade him with a game of monopoly, I tried to cajole him into snuggling on the sofa to watch a movie. But he would not be budged.

We found the golf with relatively little trouble, pulled into the car park & all piled out of the car. At that precise moment a car pulled into the space next to us. I recognised the man in the passenger seat. It was someone I had spent a lot of time with at uni when we were training to be teachers. The last time I had seen him was June 2007 at our graduation. Life had got in the way & we had lost touch.

Through good luck or fate we both just happened to be going to the same golf course on the same day at the same time. 5 minutes earlier & I wouldn’t have seen him, 5 minutes later we would have missed each other too. Is that what they call serendipity?!