Friday, August 28, 2009

Lara's Den Poster

Above is a basic publicity poster I have just knocked together for Lara's. Everything going fairly well, obviously it is early days yet and as the street is tucked away behind the main street with access only through the Newent Association for the Disabled charity shop you really have to kind of know it's there - though they are doing an admirable job of pointing people in the right direction!
I have taken several orders for personalised fabric bunting and we have all sold a couple of items each plus we have a big wool delivery expected in the next couple of days which should boost the stock and, hopefully, the interest.
Also happening at the same time as all this is the other half opening a second branch of BikerDean in the shop next door! (it was too good an opportunity to miss). He is having to put in a lot of hard grafting, on a very tight budget, to get the building up to standard - concreting floors, new wiring, plasterboard, painting etcetc. - as well as continuing to keep the shop in Coleford ticking over - which means he's been doing 14-16 hour days. But thanks to the help of staff members and willing volunteers it is all coming together and he hopes to be opening for the Onion Fair (Sept 12th).
What with all this going on I have barely had time to breathe, let alone blog but hopefully, once all the hard work has been completed and both shops are established we may be able to relax again!

Friday, August 21, 2009

A suprising combination...

My attempts at vegetable growing have not exactly been 100% successful - I've lost three of my tomato plants to blight and a lot of strawberries to slugs and the promised heatwave gave way to rain, rain and more rain so what tomatoes and peppers I do have are still quite small and nowhere near ripe. One plant, however has done spectacularly well - my courgette has been producing in abundance so we have had courgette in stirfries, courgette soup, roasted courgette etc etc. In my quest to find something different to do with courgettes I found a recipe for courgette muffins - I kid you not!
And suprisingly - they are yummy!
So for those of you who also have a surplus of courgettes - here it is. If you grate them/chop them up really fine nobody need ever know they are in there...
Pre-heat oven to 190-200c/gas 5-6 and prepare muffin tin.
In a large bowl sift together 280g plain flour, 2tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda. 1/2tsp salt, 2tsp ground cinnamon and 3tbs cocoa powder.
In a medium sized bowl beat and egg with a fork. Add 125g soft brown sugar, 90ml milk, 2tsp vanilla essence, 90ml vegetable oil and 350g (approx 3-4 medium sized) finely grated courgette - no need to peel unless you want to avoid green flecks in the finished muffin. stir well.
Pour the wet mixture into the dry and stir until combined. Batter will be lumpy but no dry flour should be visible.
Spoon into tin - should make 11 or 12 big muffins - and bake for approx 20mins.
mm mmm mmmmmmm!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Well, here we are, the day before official opening day for 'Lara's Den'!
Yes, I know this is all a bit sudden but the unit on the street only became available last Friday and we decided to take a chance and go for it! We don't have masses of stock for it - remember the original 'opening date' was the middle of September but there is just enough to give the punters an idea of what we are doing. We still have the room upstairs - which, incidentally, is looking amazing now, all painted with the floorboards stripped and varnished. That will be my workroom and further display space and also a bigger room for Riley to run around in!
I think the street looks lovely - next door to the left we have 'Pins and Needles' run by a lady called Bron, selling wool, haberdashery and cross stich kits plus a few of her own handmade items (includng gorgeous little knitted mice). Bron spins her own wool and hopes to do classes as well.
To the right we have 'The Cake Box' selling homebaked yummies - looking forward to trying them out, think the diet might suffer a bit though!
We also have 'Sweet Memories' - an old fashioned sweet shop - more temptation, darn it.
Upstairs (next to my workroom) is 'Granny's Attic' selling collectables and jewellery.
We will also have an artist displaying and selling her work.
A few of my stitched items along with some of my jewellery in the window and on the old bookcase.
A selection of handmade items for sale in 'Lara's Den'

Thursday, August 13, 2009

New books...

Very excited as I have two lovely books by Tilda full of gorgeous designs by Tone Finnanger. The photographs used to illustrate the books alone are wonderful inspiration and that's before I've even got to the projects themselves. Oh happy days....

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Busy, busy, busy...

Well the last week has been a little hectic as the reality of running a home, keeping on top of the paperwork for Biker Dean, designing and making stock for the shop and keeping a small child entertained kicks in! Thankfully the sun has come out the last couple of days so I can let him out into the garden again which eases the tension somewhat.
We are lucky to have some handy volunteers who have got stuck into the shop, ripping down old wall paper and painting so when we paid a visit on Saturday the transformation was quite something! Light flooded through the windows now the dirty old nets have been removed and the horrible dark brown wall has had it's first coat of paint. Riley had a whale of a time stomping around in the dust and flaked paint, even grabbing the broom to 'sweep' the floor!
There is still a way to go but it's getting there...
The 'much improved but with still a way to go' interior!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Full Moon Fever...

This picture was taken a while ago but not bad for a 5mp point-and-shoot!

I have just noticed, thanks to my little moon phase gadget at the bottom of my blog, that it's a full moon. Which probably explains why yesterday was such a disaster!

Getting carried away...

Did not have a good day yesterday! After getting on with housework early so I would have some time to make things for the shop I managed to drop a whole bottle of extra virgin olive oil on my nice clean kitchen floor - cleaning oil off the floor is hard enough but it becomes really difficult when there are shards of glass to contend with as well.
Then, later on my angel of a son managed to tip a cup of tea over himself (it was nearly cold, fortunately) and a pile of clean, freshly ironed clothes I was just about to put away.
Well, I'm not ashamed to admit, I cried. Which made him cry. So I gave the rest of the day up as a lost cause and, as a result, got nothing made for the shop. D'oh.
I did, however spend a little time surfing the net and discovering a new online bead shop that I absolutely love - and got a bit carried away ordering things for my new jewellery collection - inspired by the Forest in Autumn. I am lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the country and the magnificent view from my conservatory/workroom is so inspirational.
But today is another day and, thankfully the sun is shining (although the garden is still soaked) which means Riley can play outside and hopefully I can get on with something a little more constructive than crying over spilt tea!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Lara's Den

So - we went to see our new shop. I say 'shop', what it is actually is a room in an old (and I mean old!) town house in Newent that in it's previous incarnation was an 'olde worlde' shopping street/museum. The room we have been allocated is at the front of the building directly above the Newent Association for the Disabled charity shop. It has two huge sash windows complete with original, slightly bubbly glass and a very quaint wonky door frame with door cut to fit!

To say that it needs a bit of work is probably understatement of the century - but it is basically sound and all the electrics are being sorted this week so we can get in there and clean up.

We are going to call it 'Lara's Den' and it's going to be a wool shop/haberdashers and hand crafted gift shop. We are sharing the floor with an artist and a lady who sells collectables. Downstairs is another crafter who does spinning and hopes to do workshops for children.
The whole 'Shambles' area is tucked away behind the high street and is a warren of very old buildings, many of which are falling apart, and, sadly, destined for demolition. It really is like stepping back in time...

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Back from holiday.

Back from a week at my mum and dad's place in Gilwern (nr Abergavenny). We had a lovely time with Riley's first trip to the seaside (Mumbles, nr Swansea) and a lovely walk along the canal path that runs all the way to Brecon - we didn't actually walk all the way to Brecon but I would love to cycle it one day...

The garden was looking fab, and the little arbour that dad has added was a lovely place to sit when the sun did show its face (albeit briefly).

Riley had great fun being the centre of attention of a posse of adoring relatives and I enjoyed not having to worry about the washing, cooking etc for a few days.

Now I have got to start thinking about our new venture. We are going over to Newent tomorrow to see our new shop for the first time. I am so excited about it I can barely wait....

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