Monday, 31 October 2011

Halloween Treats

Halloween treat bags

It's finally here and tonight we will wait by candlelight with a basket full of treats. Tap tap tap on the door will come the local little cherubs, dressed as witches, wizards, warlocks and dancing skeletons. Mums and dads waiting sweetly at the end of the drive.
Red lit candle

In reality the dogs will be furiously barking every 5 minutes as teenagers dressed in bin bags come knocking on the door for money and turn their noses up at sweeties ;)
Spooks poem

Here's hoping for at least a few little cuteys happy with chocolate and lollies.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Happy Feet

Happy feet in a buggy
Hi,  it's Little Bird here, test driving my new buggy at my favourite park. Wheeeeee!  Which way shall we go first?
Walton Park Gardens Warrington

Perhaps to the play area. Hmmm, it looks a bit busy so we will have a walk among the trees instead as I'm not too keen on crowds and lots of older screaming children.
Fallen autumn leaf

Ah, peace here, crunchy leaves and look how sweet on the bench!
Bench love

I want to run through that red carpet of leaves but it's off the track and I best stay with mummy.  I'm also very comfy and snug in my buggy.
Red carpet of leaves

There was a lovely party being held in here, lots of balloons and people dancing. What a grand building but there were some parts that looked very old and spooky.....
Walton Hall in Warrington

.....and like it was falling down! I wonder what happened here?
{Edit: December 2017. Now there is now a restoration project}

Choo, choo! Let's hop on and explore.......
Walton Park train

Perhaps a stop to make pottery - my mummy might like that.
Pottery in the park

Nah, this is more like it. Driver stop!!!!
The Children's Zoo sign

We had a walk around the Children's Zoo. Bunny's, donkeys, ponies, weird, weird birds, a big pig and a peacock that followed you around. Go away!
Bunny drinking water

I learnt some Makaton signs for the animals.
Peacock collage

After another close brush with the peacock I became a bit grumpy and mummy insisted on a coffee break, well, juice for me. Daddy was happy as Manchester City beat United 6-1 so it was a good day all round. I was just a bit tired, hence my tantrum and had a snooze on the way home. Zzzzzzzzz
Walton Gardens coffee shop

Bye, bye x

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Squeezing the Season

Autumn dahlias

I like to squeeze every drop of each season out of it's three month window as much as possible. Spring has to be excessively springy in my house, Summer like deckchairs on Brighton pier, winter like Narnia and Autumn is no exception.

I look for events or places to go that celebrate the season and on our local countryside travels I just have to stop for an Autumn bunch of flowers.  Roadside sellers and honesty boxes make my heart sing! I've bought flowers (of course), eggs, new potatoes, hanging baskets, bunches of holly and carved wooden mushrooms to name a few after a quick 'Stop the car!' It was dahlias this week and they are the most gorgeous bunch of flowers - until the next ones :)
Eerie pumpkin field

Another perfect place to squeeze the season is the farm shop. In summer we came here picking strawberries, raspberries and gooseberries. A fun place with tractors for Little Bird and wonderful seasonal displays - now it's pumpkins and squashes which I fear I may be boring you all with. Sorry, I'm  just still squeezing drops of autumn with every crunchy russet leaf, conker and Jack O'Lantern. One thing that did surprise me was all the pumpkins left rotting, very sad indeed! Perhaps they aren't as popular as I thought as an Autumn culinary treat. Are we still fairly new to it's versatility in the UK? I suppose so, my parents don't really cook them. My dad has grown then this year but are scratching their heads for recipes and mum seems daunted by them. Do you cook with them, just wondering?
Autumn farm shop

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Happy Home Witch

Glowing Halloween pumpkin

The pumpkin fairies told me that they'd quite like a party this year to celebrate the spooky season. Of course I obliged and they set about with their mischief and lantern making.

Glittering pumpkins

I left them to it as they carved and cut and glued causing spices and pumpkin juice to be spilt everywhere as they weaved their magic from one room to the next. I didn't want so many decorations but who am I to argue with precocious pumpkin fairies. 
hanging pumpkin lanterns

Invitations were sent to the local spooks with the promise of food and a bit of a Monster Mash.
Halloween subway art

Quickly, I got out my broom to give the house a good clean before the skeletons came round - they don't like cobwebs on their bones! Just my pointed hat to find now.....
Halloween shelf

The evening arrives, lights are flickering and there's stardust in the air. The pumpkin fairies weave their magic dance welcoming all spooks over the threshold.
Pumpkin fairy

A welcome to you too, my mortal friends.............
Ghost gourd

Mummy and Warlock began the dancing, throwing shapes to the music of the vampire disco. 
Halloween party costumes

At one point Mummy had her bandages trodden on and was most angry with the Warlock - he really should control his clumsy left foot. Grrrrr!

Halloween mummy

Pumpkin juice flowed, providing much merriment to our grisly gang. The ghosts being so transparent should learn to take it easy on the juice as a few were quite ill and passed out causing the pumpkin fairies a real headache to sort out.

Halloween party table

Cake, biscuits, crisps and candy were devoured. Not a crumb was left.
Halloween gruesome finger cake

There were gatecrashers trying to get into the party, creeps skulking outside, enticed over by the magic sparkles flowing from the doors and windows. They were drawn over from far and wide but this was a small party and they were quickly sent on their way - sometimes with a scuffle or two from the magic of the pumpkin Jack O'Lantern door guardians.....
Ghost pirate at the window

Jack O'Lantern power is strong and they soon sorted any menacing spook pests from causing a disturbance. Always wave hello to these protectors sat outside weathering the storm on Halloween night. Look carefully, they might wink back.
Mini jack o lanterns

It was time for the annual story telling competition - who would tell the scariest? Witch, goblin, gnome or bat? Last year the skeleton won with the story of the Not So Funny Bones but this year we had a new winner.
Boo lights

Big Frank won with his gruesome narration of the Werewolf''s Mistaken Identity ( based on a true story) I actually thought it was amusing but not to the Werewolf who had his coat clipped and treated to a shampoo and set and was thus taken home, called Fifi Trixabelle and given a bone, errrrr I mean a tin of Hills Science Diet. Sorry skeleton.
Homemade Halloween jar lanterns

I was urged and urged by all my kooky guests to find my book of spells - an old tome handed down to me by my great grandmother. I'm a bit rusty so who knew what might happen. I collected the ingredients - hair of a dog, slime of a frog, earwig's tail and a pinch of ground up gourd seed. To complete the party I thought I'd cast a spell to create the most wondrous creature to entertain us all. Pow, kazza, wizzam wazzam woohoo woo......
Halloween witch

It was all too much for some to bear and shock resonated across the smaller members of the party clan.
Shocked pumpkin

In a flurry of flowers and into my arms appeared the most beautiful golden haired child. 
The whole of the group cooed and cuddled this mischievous imp, chasing him around for the rest of the evening, picking up his toys and dancing him around to ghoulish rhymes and songs.
Mummy witch and baby

With a jingle jangle of keys, our party pooper was skeleton, still upset by the thought of being offered to the werewolf to chew on, he had decided that it was time for the spooks to all go home to their graves/coffins/belfry/covens......
Skull and key

Tired out, the party goers were happy to leave, especially since there was so much mess and they didn't want to get roped into tidying up - nothing new there. Chief pumpkin bid them all goodnight and they went on their wicked way home. Not all made it as I found one of the gourds asleep in the hedge but I just left him there and covered him with an eiderdown of Old Man's Beard as he was happily snoring.
Lit pumpkin

I bid you all goodnight and Happy Hauntings to one and all.

Happy Halloween bunting

{Please see all the other party goers at A Fanciful Twist who is the Queen of Halloween}

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Vintage Milk Bottles

Vintage school milk bottles with stripy straws

I won a lovely set of vintage bottles with some gorgeous stripy straws from Priddy Priddy who sell gorgeous gifts.  I'm very lucky as they are fabulous and I had been secretly wanting such bottles for a while. A million thanks to Nicola at Priddy Priddy :)

 It was just a question of what to use them for first. I have such nostalgia for drinking my milk at infant school from bottles with a little plate of cut apples at the side, so it will be nice to recreate that. 
Vintage mini milk bottles

Alternatively I thought I'd put some froggy Chrysanthemums-salvaged from a past its prime bunch of flowers, into each bottle to complete my Halloween table. I know it's early but we are having an early party for the Little and Junior Birds before half term holidays and to take part in the Halloween Party at A Fanciful Twist.
Halloween table floral idea

I'm having a little foot off the gas moment with the blog at the moment as i'm at college learning Web Design, so in order to practice my new skills I'm using time I'd normally spend blogging. I only wish there were more hours in the day! See you Saturday.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Corn Dollies at Siddington Church, Macclesfield

Welcome to the harvest festival

A different route and an interesting sign post found a hidden gem.
Siddington Church Macclesfield

A church harvest festival in a Cheshire village. We were the only people here. So quiet, yet so alive with vibrant colour.
Harvest pumpkin characters

Fun faces, flowers in pots and garlands. Rows of vegetables and displays of fruit.
Hops decorating a door

Carefully placed with love and attention.
Harvest vegetables

Harvest church display

hint at what lies within peers over the church door. Still so eerily quiet, we lift the latch and step in.

Church door decorated for harvest

Corn Dollies
Inside the church our eyes are full of gold. Corn maidens keeping the spirit of corn happy after harvest time and through the winter time.
Siddington church decorated with corn dollies
Corn dollies everywhere, intricate shapes decorating walls, pews, lights, hand crafted and cared for. 
Corn dollies
So many! But why and who made them?

Corn dollies and flowers

Bird on a church lamp
Outside in the still light we found a secret path to a beautiful cottage and garden.

Cottage garden in the autumn
Church path

I met an old lady here on the path who told me about the history of the corn dollies and how they were made by one man, She told me she came here every year to see the display. I turned around to ask her more but she was nowhere to be seen.
Siddington Churchyard

{All Saints Church - Siddington, Macclesfield. The corn dollies are made by craftsman Raymond Rush}