Finding work for idle hands: making, baking and more.

Happy Halloween! October 31, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — lauravw @ 7:18 pm

20121031-191831.jpgHappy Halloween from Busywork Towers!

As you know I’ve had my decorations up for weeks, waiting for today to roll around. Last week I stocked up on chocolate bars, lollies, and those chewy sweets that threaten to pull your teeth out. And then last night I emptied all those sweets into my (newly-purchased, while in Boston) Hello Kitty trick or treat bag, ready to dole out to visitors tonight.

I got home from work just as it was getting dark, lit our pumpkin (which has a crow on it this year, and is quite a sight to see – except for the sad mouldy patch round the back, but we won’t dwell on that), and put it outside on the front step, to let all the local witches, ghosts and vampires know that we were open for business.

Within a few minutes there were footsteps on the gravel, and then a knock at the door. Three witches greeted me, and I gave each of them a chocolate bar and a lolly. Then there was another knock, and on our driveway stood a little girl dressed as a pumpkin, with her father in tow. Again, more sweets were distributed.

But that was where I went wrong: I started out too generously, and supplies dwindled fast. After 25 children had called, I only had enough sweets for five more trick or treaters. And wouldn’t you know it, the next time I heard a knock at the door, I was greeted by TEN children in costumes. I quickly explained that there were more of them than I had sweets, and they took it pretty well – thankfully the parents they had brought along with them reminded them they would all have to share their treats once they got home anyway. But towards the back of the group was a little girl who looked very sad that she wasn’t getting any sweets. She had kept her part of the bargain, dressing up and going to a house that looked like it would welcome trick or treaters, and I had failed by not buying enough sweets.

Which is why I have now brought the pumpkin indoors, turned off all the lights, closed the curtains, and am hiding in the living room, pretending I’m not home.


Space issues July 31, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — lauravw @ 2:13 pm

20120731-151148.jpgI’ve been a subscriber to Martha Stewart Living for quite a few years now – I’m not sure how many, but I have editions going back around ten years. And I’ve kept them all – which means they take up rather a lot of space.

So I’ve decided to work my way through them, snipping out the recipes and articles that caught my eye, and donating the rest to friends/recycling them.

It’s been quite fun – I’ve started with the older editions, from before Martha went to prison (or, as she apparently tells it, “the army”). In those days her name was very prominent on the cover, and from the moment she was sentenced, it was made much less prominent. Now that she’s been rehabilitated back into society, she takes a more visible role in the magazine, which I think is good news.

I’m still subscribing to the magazine, so the editions will continue to pile up, but when my subscription expires next year, I’m going to opt for the digital-only version and simply read it on my iPad.


Jubilympic bunting May 30, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — lauravw @ 5:59 pm

Are you ready for the long Diamond Jubilee weekend? I think we could all do with a few days off.

I love seeing all the flags and bunting appearing in the shops. And the fact that councils and others are busy tidying the whole country, ready for the Jubilee. And I particularly love this free printable Rob Ryan bunting, which I found on the Stylist website. I’ve already got more bunting than I know what to do with, but perhaps I can print some of this to brighten up my office…


Afternoon tea November 21, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — lauravw @ 2:06 pm

On Sunday afternoon we were very civilised: we had afternoon tea with my parents and some friends.

It had been a dark and foggy day, but the sun was just starting to make its presence known when we arrived at my parents’ house just after 2pm. Mum had lit lots of candles, and the house looked very pretty, with just a few hints of Christmassy decorations starting to appear.

I made the lemon fairy cakes you can see in this picture, finishing them just before we set off. That meant I didn’t have time to test them, but I needn’t have worried as they were very good. (This more than makes up for the poor cooking I did last weekend!). They are from a recipe in the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook, a book I’ve been really pleased with so far.

Anyway, speaking of Christmas… how are your preparations going? I had planned to get all of my Christmas shopping done in November as I struggle to enjoy being in shops in December – I find it all a bit overwhelming. But I had failed to notice that December starts NEXT WEEK. So I might not quite manage to have finished by then. We’ll see.

And I think I am going to leap into Christmas rather early this year – I usually am rather slow to put the decorations up, but this time I think I will put them up early and enjoy them for longer.  Anna at Twelve 22 put her tree up on the 9th of November! I think I might do my decorations in the first few days of December, which is early by my standards.


The Friday Tidy January 28, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — lauravw @ 5:49 pm

In my first proper job, I worked for one of those pesky dot-com businesses: publishing press releases on a website long before I had a computer or internet access of my own. One of my managers at the time liked to have a ‘Friday Tidy’ – a quick tidy up around the office last thing on a Friday. These days it’s a digital Friday Tidy that I need: all week long I read articles that capture my imagination, see photos of things that inspire me, and so on. I squirrel them away all over the place, and then weeks later you’ll hear me saying that I read about something or other on so-and-so’s website, and that I wish I could remember the details. So here goes: a virtual Friday Tidy. I’ll try to round up all those links each week and publish them here in case they appeal to you too.

Listen to the Go! Team’s new album before it goes on sale, on The Guardian website – this is an album I’m really looking forward to, and I’ve already pre-ordered a copy.

Nutella Day is imminent! And there are plenty of recipes for you to try. A couple of days a week I make myself porridge with a spoonful of Nutella stuck right in the middle of it.

This weekend is the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch -we take part in this every year, and I look forward to it so much. I have plenty of extra bird food to put out, to see if I can tempt a few extra birds into our garden.

Make yourself a 3D paper owl – a free and very colourful printable template.

Mrs C’s copy of a 1930s handbook for housewives – I have a small collection of similar books, but hadn’t seen this one before.


The big vote: behind the scenes May 4, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — lauravw @ 9:07 pm

Will you be staying up late on Thursday to see the election results come in? I’m planning to – assuming I can stay awake. I think I’ll watch Channel 4’s coverage of things, with a few checks to see what’s happening on the BBC.

I’m usually a bit more closely involved when there is an election on: I work in local government and in the past have often been one of the people sitting counting up the votes, late into the night. It’s a stressful, tiring, repetitive,and yet interesting job to do. Election counts often take place in local sports halls, and there are a lot of people involved. The election candidates and their associates are allowed to walk around and watch you as you work, which can be unnerving – they are looking to see if you’ve missed a vote, or mis-counted. On top of that, the local and national press may well be filming the event and broadcasting live from the site.

In the UK, we’re allowed to vote up until 10pm – at that point, the staff from each of the polling stations shut up shop, and drive the votes that have been cast during the day to a central venue for the area, where they are all counted together. It makes for a very long day – polling stations open at 7am, and so when counting finally gets started at around 10.30pm, people have been up and working for a long time. If the result is close, there could even be a recount – this means all the votes get counted again, and of course by this time it’s even later at night and people are really flagging. Where I live, it’s a safe seat – so there’s unlikely to be a call for a recount. But you never know – it seems like there is change in the air this year.


Happy new year! December 31, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — lauravw @ 2:27 pm

Let’s hope it’s a good one. I don’t think I’m making any resolutions as such, but I’m planning to take more care – both of myself and of others. I’m hoping 2010 will be a healthier year for me, and so I’m going to make sure I relax as much as possible.

I have quite a few sewing projects in the works (not that sewing always counts as a relaxing activity – there may have been the odd occasion where I’ve wanted to throw a sewing project out of the window…), so I want to take time to work on those. I also have big travel plans for later in the year, so there’s work to be done making plans and booking things – we’re planning to fly into San Francisco and out of Seattle, with a road trip in between the two cities. And I plan to make sure I spend time with family and friends – we’ve already got a few things on the calendar for the start of the year, including a trip to see the Nutcracker at the end of January.

I hope that 2010 brings good things your way.