Message from the Editor:
Thank you for calling in the new, revamped magazine edition of "The Custards".
The team behind "The Custards " (Pat.Pending) have been very busy writing a range of articles to please your diverse palettes. Here at "The Custards" we like diverse palettes and hope that we have something for everyone to dip in and out of. Thank you to our reader, Jenny, who has sent in photographs of her s-l-o-w-l-y evolving kitchen : more of this on page 9. Another reader, spookily also named Jenny, has shared some of her recent 'finds' (see page 5 for more details : how she makes us laugh). A regular contributor, Jenny, has shared her vintage Spring display.
Our resident photographer, Jenny,(oh my that name is clearly a bit of trend this season) has apologised for not reading her camera instructions and has only just found what aperture really means....this might explain some of the lack of perspective in images. We end with our favourite 'PS' final column, here the extraordinarily witty, clever, talented, amazing all round good egg, Jenny has once again offered her wit, wisdom from her daily life. In the office we never cease to be amazed by her hapless adventures.
Dear "The Custards"
Thank you for your not-so-recent article on Christmas. I was going to send in some photographs of Christmas 2014 but realise that it is now too late so will save them for 2015!
PS: Hoping for more timely postings in 2015 please.
Ed: You and me both. PS: Caustic comments are not particularly welcome and we will be censoring such letters in future editions.
Martha has been wondering if you will reconsider the articles which we sent in for the editor's perusal early in 2014? We had rather hoped that 'The Adventures of Martha and Arthur' was going to be a regular feature.
Not a happy reader
Ed: Arthur - I have replied in full via our solicitor. I had only vaguely suggested payment so take your thinly veiled threat of legal action with a pinch of pink Himalayan salt (currently on offer via our Special Offers page for our Special Customers : if this does not apply to you then please ignore)
Dear "The Custards"
I have recently been having various problems with party wall damp ingress. Any thoughts or tips?
Ed: Thinly veiled smut is also not tolerated here
The Shopping Place ~ What's in and what's out this season:
Here at "The Custards" HQ we have been sourcing the finest things currently available for purchase (or rather things which we have purchased which if you keep your eyes peeled you might find something similar):
We are given to believe this is a copy of an sampler dating from 1835. Our team of investigative reporter
We thought that this embroidery was particularly well executed....
...though a little grubby round the nethers
We are seeking advice regarding the washing of said item as 'our team' are no longer to be trusted with washing. We recently purchased a piece of cloth with a multitude of souvenir felt badges (dating from the 40s /50s/60s) sewn on to it (we had in mind to create a satchel type bag and sew them on) only to find that
they, she I, they we had accidentally put it in the washing machine.. and many of the badges disintegrated as a result.
At "The Custards" we are aware that when it comes to presents some people prefer gifts of perfume, books, shoes. clothes, fine dining, dear departed Woolies Gift Vouchers. We tittered in the office when one key member of staff announced that what she would like for her birthday was a rusty old fire surround -complete with cobwebs - which she had seen in the local salvage yard. Said member of staff had only ever asked for three things for birthdays/Christmas over the past 30 years. Said member of staff actually had quite a bit of stuff and was not over keen on any/much money been spent on any presents and welcomed a bargain muchly.
It would be faintly ridiculous to decorate this fire place as though it were indoors.....wouldn't it. We were going to artfully arrange our collection of hand printed, hand blocked William Morris wallpaper around it (as seen in wallpaper advertisements from circa 1979) but decided against. That would, of course, be faintly ridiculous.........
By way of demonstration of purchasing items on the cheap said member of staff went a foraging in one of the local 'open air' shopping centres.... which only opens one day a week....when its not raining...you might be aware of the sort.
For £3 she was able to purchase a much needed 30s fabric parasol
There were some other fabric purchases - some wonderful linen curtains (possibly from the 30s and a bargain at £3) and pieces of Sanderson and other florals:
These are the pieces pegged on the line to dry after washing
Much longed-for sunshine coming through
Sorry that this is being displayed on Dom's old pants (washed!) which are always used for buffing purposes.
It took a fair bit of buffing to restore to original state (Please see feature in back issue Volume 9, Number 27 for buffing tips and guidance)
One more pound also bought a little china posy bowl. Poor photography here and the bowl itself has been obliterated by the flowers.
Please see the Wallpaper Feature on page 5 for further details of background paper.
You know how some mornings you wake up and think to yourself:
'What I really need today is: a vintage papier-mâché crinoline lady wearing a green dress in the form of powder puff holder'
Well what do you know!
"Come into the garden Maud. I am here at the gate alone.............."
'Fashion' on a budget: something for depleted pockets and creative minds (as opposed to depleted minds and creative pockets.......). Guarded use of 'fashion' in this section!
Gather ye rose buds
This is the carefully crafted pattern!
Food & drink special supplement
Last summer we were inspired by a blog post by Heather of My little red suitcase to make our own herbal tea
We popped the kettle on and then stepped outside to our fancifully named 'herb garden'
We selected sprigs of mint, lemon verbena and a bit of thyme
This was last summer - which explains the roses being in bloom!
We were able to indulge ourselves with then newly installed folding doors in the kitchen
Bringing the outside in............
~~A more up to date make has been 'creating' a recipe from 'The Berry' and her Easter Pavlova.
The recipe calls for half a dozen eggs and that took a bit of beating with my old whisk
Sorry that my meringue is a bit cracked....happens to the best of us (sorry also that I didn't have the right nozzle for piping purposes).
Wash down with a cup of cha
This time of year is full of hope and promise isn't it. We are off visiting local gardens to see what is up and coming:
We have made a note to return later in the year to see how this display is faring
Sadly the rhubarb had been eaten....by the local slug population...
....but under one forcer we found that some epimedyium had decided to make a bid for freedom...together with the snails
About 10 years ago we planted this peach tree and never really expected much more than yellow golf balls. However over the years we have been proved wrong and this tree always produces delicious, juicy peaches (I fertilise the flowers with a little paint brush taped onto the broom handle)
All sorts of things are planted - including this chipped old jug
Spring time car boots are the prime time to buy old gardening tools - these cost between two and four pounds. Such stalls can be spotted because they are usually surrounded by men - gathered round admiring tools of yesteryear.
Are you looking for a bit of vim and vigour?
Are you searching for that extra something?
Let us put a 'Spring' into your step with this colourful mix of florals and embroidery : we think this exemplifies that burst of energy associated with this time of year. Here our resident stylist (from verb ' to style' - to arrange artfully and then peddle) rummaged through a
Here at "The Custards" we feel that you can't go wrong with a nice bit of embroidery and seasonal Spring bulbs.
We are honour-bound to tell you that the bird's nest below is one left by Mr and Mrs Blackbird last season
Goodness knows how many hours these would have taken to make
Reader's Kitchen: Modern living & Scandinavian pottery of the past
Here our reader has been able to draw upon a range of influences (charity shop, car boot mainly) and incorporated them into the home.
Our reader tittered with laughter as she told us how she changes the items on the shelves around on a regular basis
'No it is is not in the least bit tiresome for people in the house. We call it 'fun and games' when people find that the plates have been moved for the fifth time that week'.
We laughed at that one too - what fun it must be never quite knowing.
Our reader highlighted how robust pottery was needed in a hard working kitchen and old Scandinavian bits and bobs served that purpose very well indeed.
We tried to track down the old Scandinavian to find out how he felt about his bits and bobs being used in this way but were sadly unsuccessful.
Once more our reader tinkling laughter echoed throughout the house when she relayed how she had to search in the back of her wardrobe to locate some pieces which had been bought several years ago. She had been waiting for the day of shelf assembly.
Story of shelf brackets relayed in the PS. section
There were further shelves to be assembled but the reader informs us that she is trying not to overload the wall..................
Reader is rather partial to a nice old enamel tea pot.............
See previous edition for details of lamp.
Other kitchen perspectives from our reader:
A larder cupboard has been installed
The shelves were quite neat and tidy for about a week
I love tea
I love prunes.
A local builder was removing the entire contents of a Victorian terrace house (including the stairs!) so this lovely door become ours. We were going to have orange walls but the colour of the glass determined otherwise.
This chair isn't usually here.
We are pleased to announce that it really does like a toilet block!
Old sweet jars were bought from the CS a year or two ago for £1 each.
Counter is work not in progress.............
Car boot china biscuit barrel - missing its lid!
Years ago the original doorway to the kitchen was made into a cupboard (it is tricky to explain) - this has now been blocked off but we wanted to keep the old architrave. The 'master of the house' shrunk the doorway and it now houses book shelves and somewhere for the old trays.
Moving in before the paint was dry....
Still a great deal to do - eventually
19th Century Textiles
We are not 100% convinced of the provenance of the following pieces so we are asking for the pooling of knowledge from The Collective please. Calling anyone out there who has some knowledge of such textiles we would be very grateful.
These are 'bag fronts' (not a technical term!) and this is a summary of what we have found so far:
These look similar too
These pieces also 'glisten' slightly and we think that some of the threads might be metallic
We tried to contact the museum in Aleppo to return these to the country of origin but sadly too difficult in such times. Of course these might all be modern copies so any information is most welcome.
Hand printed William Morris wallpaper
Sometimes thing turn up in the least expected places. We are fortunate enough to have a long-standing 'buyer' at "The Custards" - she is able to 'source' all sort in all sorts of places. A few weeks ago a shop of a certain genre had some rolls of wallpaper (the paper was rolled so that the print could not be seen but our buyer is very deft with her x-ray vision).
It took a bit of research to find date of these wallpapers but....
The design below is called ~Borage Ceiling and the colours are delicious.
These wallpapers dates from the 1965 Sanderson 'revamp' of the original William Morris designs. the one below makes your eyes go a bit 'funny' when you look at it. This pattern is 'Sunflower' by William Morris.
Wallpaper in situ (pretending_
PS From Ed:
PS: I have always loved 'buffing things up' - I love buffing. ("Oh cricky - it's all coming out now...she is not quite the person we thought she was...SHE'S A CLOSEST NUDIST "). You are funny. As a child one of my favourite jobs was when my mum would ask me to help her 'do the Brasso' (I had an insular childhood 'tis fair to say). This is not a metaphor for snorting cocaine (or whatever you do with it : the closest I have ever come to taking drugs was flaunting myself eating those sweet cigarettes - merrily available during the 60s and 70s .....times change). 'Doing the Brasso' was my mum's shorthand method of conveying that all all brass and copper objects in the household needed to be assembled for the fortnightly buffing with the Brasso. I have maintained that love for 'doing the Brasso' ever since and have tried to instil this in my children too - believing it to be one of life's essentials. To my horror when I recently went to do my own Brassos (plural form and not a euphemism) and discover that despite best shakes no more Brasso was to be had. I ventured to the shop to find only 'own brand' was available. WHAT ON EARTH IS GOING ON - NO BRASSO! WE MIGHT ALL AS WELL PACK UP AND GO HOME AT THIS RATE. I calmed down after a little seething and was forced to buy own brand. On my return to Custard Towers I manfully (it being a job on the 'masculine spectrum of labour' in a gender biased world) only to discover it was not Brasso as I know it but a weakened, attenuated form of my beloved Brasso: a Brasso interloper if you will, a liquid merely masquerading as Brasso with no Brasso connection whatsoever. All of this to convey to you why my Brasso bits are looking a bit browned off round the edges in the previous photographs. Sorry everyone - I feel that I have let the side down and I know that you all will have duly noted and registered your disappointment.
PPPS: A few months ago I bought new knickers. Now for some of you this might not be something which merits public announcement but some like...mmmm..let me see ..........Elaine of Kitsch and Curious for example would understand the enormity of such a statement (not enormity of my knickers !! RUDE!). To fill in some detail (not detail of my knickers) : dear Elaine and I have never met but some years ago she kindly commented on my old Flickr photos and then my blog and a friendship via the ether developed. ('What the heck does this have to do with knickers?' 'She said that she wasn't a nudist but.......'). Elaine and her husband moved home and I wanted to send a moving in gift. I really, really dislike shopping but thought that for such purposes something 'generic' such as a Marks and Sparks gift voucher might be useful. I do not shop at Marks and Sparks and do not have a Marks and Sparks 'account'. Undeterred I set up an online account and marvelled at the speed at which it was all operational : I entered Elaine's new address and... tra la la.... gift voucher arrived and that was that..........or so I thought. Some time later (maybe a year - perhaps you can confirm Elaine?) I realised that my knickers were beyond the parlous stage - they were in fact akin to a horizontal strip of cloth - no elastic left and little fabric either to be honest. I could leave it no longer (in part this was due to the fact that my one pair of jeans were also heading west.......certain body parts were in grave danger of an exposé not seen since Janet Jackson's 'wardrobe malfunction' during the Super Bowl XXXV11 (I have never actually seen a/the Super Bowl (unless you count the lovely dish I bought at the car boot recently) or indeed never seen any aspect of Janet Jackson's undergarments). Anyway ('I wish she'd get on with it') - I measured certain body parts and decided to throw caution to the wind and - to hell with it - let's go for a bra or two as well. It was nearly Christmas after all and those bras had served me well for a good few years....enough said. I DO NOT BUY OLD BRAS FROM THE CAR BOOT! What a sauce for thinking it! The aforementioned unmentionables took quite a while to arrive - this then called for 'tracking' of the purchase. This is why I hate shopping. At the car boot I just pick up bits - a sum of money is mentioned - I pay for it and off we go. No tracking there. Anyway tracking the purchase commenced.............hang on a cotton-picking minute......what the blazes is going on. BRAS AND KNICKERS SENT (BY DEFAULT) TO ELAINE. Elaine - whom I have never met- was now in receipt of a parcel of undergarments for the nether regions and for all I know her husband might have taken in the order! What on earth would he be thinking!!!! I emailed Elaine....and Elaine emailed me. How we laughed. It was a little more tricky to explain to customer services at M&S HQ - I might have rambled on a bit and that call might be used for training purposes.....'Well, I accidentally sent someone I have only known via the internet my bras and knickers, no I don't know her telephone number, I just said I only know her via the internet....it was a mistake...the underwear was for me but I'm worried that her husband will find out......I only set up the account so that I could send the gift voucher....I hate shopping but my knickers are reduced to a cake frill....' Just so you know Elaine the bras were the wrong size and I had to send them back............How we laughed.
PPPPS: Next time I will fill you in about how security were very nearly called when, for the first time in many years, I had to buy a new pair of jeans....
Thank you for calling in and for all of your lovely comments - I have been reading them but not such a frequent blogger sadly. I hope to be back to my old self soon - in the interim here is an old favourite for old times sake: