Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Craft Fairs

A huge hobby of mine is creating something useful, pretty and a little bit different from treasures I find in charity shops, at car boot sales and garage sales and anywhere else I can think of.

I sell some pieces at various craft fairs in the area and also on under the banner 'Liz Lancaster' and I am attending a Fair this Sunday, 4 March at Stanwick in Northamptonshire.

I suppose I was brought up to 'make do and mend' and now, it seems to be back in fashion.  I have always really disliked the 'throw away society' - why did someone think it would be a good idea for supermarkets to stop putting a store of cardboard boxes to be used by customers to take their shopping home and introduce those vile plastic bags anyway ?  

However, I digress.   The challenge is to find, say a piece of fabric, study it and see what alternative use pops into mind - you never quite know what the result will be and this is what makes it so rewarding.

I have been busy making cushions, aprons, bags etc., from recycled materials and the pics above show two cushions made from four cotton seersucker napkins picked up at a garage sale last summer - one greens/yellows/browns and the other reds/blues/yellows.

They contain feather filled pads and measure about 14 inches square.

They look really fresh and crisp and I am extremely pleased with the results made from something which would otherwise probably have just been thrown away.

Wish me luck for Sunday  !!!

Monday, 27 February 2012


As I said I would, then so I am - giving you the recipe for my Banana Nut Bread!

I must warn you that this is not a slimming recipe, but super for a winter weekend now and then, maybe after a walk!  (Sorry I am a bit old fashioned and work in imperial measurements).

4 oz Margerine
7 oz Caster Sugar
2 Eggs
3 Bananas
10 oz Plain Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 oz Chopped Nuts

Cook at Gas Mark 4 for 60 - 65 minutes.  (Actually in my oven it takes about 10 minutes longer - but do check.


1.  Cream together the margerine and the sugar.

2.  Beat the eggs and add to the above a little at a time.  Beat well.

3.  Mash the bananas and add to the mix.  Beat well.

4.  Add flour, baking powder and salt to the mix and fold in with a metal

5.  Stir in the chopped nuts.

6.  Cook in a 2lb Loaf tin as set out above.

7.  Leave to cool slightly before turning out and then serve sliced and spread
     with a little butter.


Sunday, 26 February 2012


Last month I found a book in a charity shop called The Gentle Art of Domesticity by Jane Brocket.

I read it from cover to cover in a few days and felt I had come home. 

I have always loved and valued homemaking in all its guises - not that I am keen on the boring bits like cleaning, tidying and the general humdrum, but I love to create whether knitting, sewing, a bit of baking, gardening and, of course, bringing up our boys who have long since flown the nest.

I have worked, usually part time in offices, over the years when funds required, and I did enjoy it to a certain extent, but always had the feeling that when I walked into the office at 9 a.m., I was trapped until it was time to leave.

In 2009 I was made redundant from my last job and since then have done some voluntary work for Oxfam, but my main interest now is making hand knitted, sewn and other items from things I find mostly at car boot sales, and in charity shops, and I sell a few at local craft fairs.

I will never be a millionaire, but the fairs are fun, you meet other like minded people and I enjoy the calm, concentration and even solitariness of the making process.

I am also very keen on old - but what we now call "vintage" pottery and our home - a very old cottage, is filled with finds from here, there and everywhere together with sentimental pieces which have come to me over the years.

Yesterday, the sun was shining and I suddenly had the urge to bake and came up with my Banana Nut Bread, which doesn't look terribly exciting, but believe me it is DELICIOUS.  I will add the recipe - maybe tomorrow.