Sunday, 14 May 2017

Learned something new today!

As most of you know, our home in France is on a hilltop, in the middle of nowhere really, right in the heart of Charolais cow country. The region is famous for their Charolais beef, and our property is surrounded by fields usually full of those gorgeous white Charolais cows which belong to our closest neighbour, farmer Thierry. But a little while ago, a brown and white cow appeared amongst one of the herds, and I was pretty sure it was a milch cow. 

This afternoon, Thierry and his son Corentin came to the gate with a lidded bucket for me. My first thought was, omg, they have been collecting big juicy snails after the rains and are going to offer some to me.......... You can imagine my relief when they told me that it was milk fresh from their new milch cow! I had to chuckle, he was practically supplying the whole neighbourhood because his cow was giving sooo much milk ( thats the fabulous fresh grass she nibbles on all day long :-) ). OK....... raw milk.......... what do I do? I knew it had to be pasteurised, but how? Thank goodness for the internet! I read a large number of articles and it turns out that making milk safe by pasteurising is not at all difficult. I didn't have a double boiler, so a smaller saucepan inside a larger one did the trick, and apart from that I just needed a thermometer, and the wine and beer making thermometer was fine for that. 

I wanted to take pictures doing it, but didn't have enough hands, lolol, had to keep stirring with one hand and keeping the thermometer in the milk with the other hand, but somehow managed to take one with my phone, lol -


Bottled it after rapid cooling in icecold water in the sink, and just had some. OMG, it is so deliciously rich and creamy and shoobydoobydoo!

I love living in the countryside.

Toodlepip xxx

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Has it been a whole month again?

Is it because I am getting older that time seems to fly by so much quicker, is it the much more relaxed French lifestyle which keeps me away from the computer and blogging? How can it possibly be over a month again since I put up a blog post?

I should have posted the following photos ages ago, sigh. I received the swap ATCs from Kimberly's Springtime In Paris swap, and they left me speechless. All three of them are stunning, and the bookmark which Kimberly sent along as a gift from her is simply gorgeous ( and already in use in a 1859 French Magasin Pittoresque :-).

In no particular order, the first ATC is from Kimberly (ArtJoyStuff) herself - 



The second one was made by Sylvia -


The third ATC is from Sherry -


I was blown away, not just by the ATCs themselves, but also the gorgeous packaging -


Kimberly really is a most thoughtful swap hostess and always sends along a beautiful, thoughful, theme related gift. This altered paper clip bookmark is so lovely! -


Thank you ladies, for making this swap such a joy to take part in!

Toodlepip xxx

Monday, 3 April 2017

Spring at the cottage

I love all the seasons, but Spring is really special. Seeing everything coming back to life, the first hints of green in the hedgerows, the little wildflowers eagerly opening up in the first warm rays of sunshine, the wonderful clouds of white blossoms on the wild cherry trees and the hawthorns, thats magical.

We have been quite busy these first couple of weeks. The 'garden' was covered in what seemed like a million branches and bits from the trees surrounding the cottage. Apparently there had been some rather severe storms just before we came out to the cottage. It took my DH days to clear them up. Then the warmer weather arrived for a few days and you know what happens then...... the grass goes mad and you can almost see it growing while you watch. Not the best time for the mower to break down, lol, but my wonderful DH is Mister Fixit :-). Planted the First Early Potatoes, got the greenhouse put up again and planted lots of veggie seeds, stocked up my herb pots by the front door and started clearing out weeds.

We were so happy to get back to the Refuge ( http://www.refuge-adpa-gueugnon.org/ ) again and walk the doggies twice a week. We have missed them, they are our babies as well. I try not to think too much about how long some of these beautiful dogs have been in the shelter, it breaks my heart that some of them have spent almost their entire life there. Little Sam, for example, came to the Refuge when just a year old, such a wonderful little dog, absolutely loves to play with toys, is obedient, walks nicely on the lead, and loves to be loved, yet nobody has ever shown interest in him in, what, eight years! I would so love for him to go to a wonderful loving home, even though I would miss him.

Anyway, enough ramblings, I'll just show you a few random pics from the last couple of weeks :-) -

My precious box full of my treasured gifts from friends. They travel with me between the UK and France all the time 


Rain day sorting through an old button box

Morning walks

Spring flowers inside and out






Seeds planted


Loving this vintage bust of a young woman

Sorting out some small religious pieces to list on Etsy




My little herb 'garden'

A freshly laundered, beautifully delicate lacy bedspread drying in the soft Spring air


And of course plenty of time spent with our dogs







Toodlepip xxx

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

A new ATC swap!

Kimberly from ArtJoyStuff is hosting another swap, yay! The theme is Springtime in Paris. I am enjoying Springtime in France right now, but not in Paris, lol, we are back at the cottage, and one of the first things I did was organise my craftavan again so that I could finish the ATCs I had started before we left the UK on Saturday night. And here they are, photographed amongst the gorgeous little wild violets which grow everywhere round here at this time of the year -




Wishing you all a lovely warm and beautiful Spring, toodlepip xxx

Monday, 27 February 2017

A bit of upcycling

I have used sooooooo much sellotape in the last few months, sending out items from the jewellery auctions I had been running for a an animal charity and of course posting orders from my Etsy shop, I ended up with a huge amount of empty sellotape rolls. Time for at least one more little tubby, lol! The others I made were very much Tim Holtz/steampunk inspired, this one is a bit more Spring-y, flowery, bird-y :-). With a teeny bit of bling, of course :-) -




Toodlepip xx

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

My ATC swap package has arrived!

Shipping from the States was really quick this time, wasn't expecting it today at all, so it was a really lovely surprise when the postman handed the envelope to me.

And as always, opening it and taking out the swap ATCs was such a pleasure! Everybody in the swap really did their best work, all the ATCs ( shown on Kim's ArtJoyStuff blog ) were awesome, and I would have been delighted with any one of them. As it happens, I received an ATC from Kimberly herself, from Lynn Stevens (trash to treasure art ) and from Terri Wilkerson ( junqueseeker ) -


From Kimberly -

love the wonderful details and layering

From Lynn - 

a blingy heart, what could be better 

From Terri -

the back is as pretty as the gorgeous front

Kimberly is a fabulous swap hostess, and always includes a sweet little gift. Love the lace on the peg she sent this time! Thank you, Kim, for yet again hosting a wonderful swap, you're the best! 

Toodlepip xxx

Sunday, 5 February 2017

About time!

It has taken me ages to list new things in my Etsy shop, life sometimes has a way of interfering with the best laid plans. But I have finally done it and filled at least one shelf again :-). Here is a little collage of some of the things which have recently gone into the shop -

And now I'll go and have a cuddle with my doggies. I love taking photos of them, this is a pic I took earlier today of Hector, looking all sweet and lovely -

and this is a pic my DH took of our darling Hector 5 mins ago, lol, what a tart - 

That is one relaxed doggie!

Toodlepip xxx