Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Port Wine Jelly if your feeling fuzzy

After all the festivities you might like the recipe for Port Wine Jelly.

I know this is the time for New Year Resolutions.
I never make a promise I can't keep, so I never ever make them, even to myself.

I do like to try and finish anything that has been hanging around for a while before the New Year starts.
I finished this guy yesterday. Only a few things left now. One is ongoing for next year, so that doesn't count.
The half finished quilt that has been hanging around in a cupboard for 6 years doesn't count one thing left to finish, and I'm working on that, so you should see that soon.

This guy is made from acrylic that I found ages ago in the Summer in a shop in Totnes....
Acrylic isn't my favorite material to work with, so I suppose he didn't turn out that badly.
He already has a home. He's not going far. An hours drive away to Somerset.

As he's intended for someone who is slightly younger than the age group I normally make bears for. He is made with safety eye's and safety joints....

Your waiting for the Port Wine Jelly recipe aren't you?

So here it is, you still have time to make it for New Year. Unlike the bear this recipe isn't intended for children. You have been warned !

You need..

1 0z of powdered gelatine
3 fl.0s cold water
6 oz. caster sugar
4 cloves
Blade of mace...I haven't got a blade...shove a couple of pinches in it.
I stick of cinnamon
Grated rind and juice of 1 Lemon
1/2 pint of water and 1/2 a pint of port wine.

Sprinkle the gelatine over the 3 fl.oz. cold water in a small bowl or cup.
After about 5 minutes when it's spongy stand the bowl in hot (not boiling) water until the gelatine has melted and the mixture is clear.
Meanwhile, place the sugar, spices, lemon rind and juice in a pan with the 1/2 pint of water and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.
Bring to the boil then remove from the heat.
Cool slightly, then whisk in the dissolved gelatine and cool for 20 minutes, whisking from time to time.
Strain the spices and zest from the syrup in the pan and then stir in the port wine.
Pour into a wetted 1 1/2 pint mould or into stemmed glasses and chill until set...

To all those we have yet to wish a Happy New Year.

Have a Happy, Safe and Warm New Year

from sleepy Soggibottom Cottage............

Saturday, 26 December 2009

The bear in the window

I always love happy endings............

The give a way Soggibottom bear made it to Loir in time for Christmas..

I make better bears than cards !

Soggibottom is going to close down for a few days....

but then I always say that!

The Soggibottom Bear has had his day off and now is back on duty in the window seat..

He always has his fob watch at this time of count the minutes a New Year.

He had a ribbon for his present from Wendy Carole Stuff.... shown here by his watch.

If you don't hear from me over the next few days it doesn't mean I am not around.

"Resting", is the word I am looking for.

We wish you a very Happy New Year.... x x x

Thank you for all the comments Amie Soto Blossom followers have made during the year and how lucky to have made such great friends and emailed such smiley people during the year.

Lucky Me x x x x x x x

I need to learn New languages.......I need google translate..................

Have a really great year..

Friday, 25 December 2009

Only another 364 shopping Days till next Christmas

What did she get from Santa ?

She ate it all ...................

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Stars Blazing with Winter Brilliance

The Milky Way has over a million stars.
Andromeda, the galaxy 2.3 million light years distant, is 200,000 light years wide and contains more than 300 million stars.

The Solar System may occupy a tiny area of intergalactic space, but it's big enough for the human imagination.

The beauty of life reveals itself in a bead of dew and a heaven full of stars.

What ever stars you look at from your part of the world, have a very Happy Christmas.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Recipe for Wassail Punch and Lambs Wool

Don't you just love trailing around the busy shops?

It might be December 21, the longest night of the year but do you need the hassel?

Not quite as busy in Looe, Cornwall today.
Instead of trawling around shopping centres fighting for parking space in all the snow. should have gone to Looe...................

Glitter in the shop windows. Room to walk around the town. Loads of car parking.

Every shop, pub and restaurant decorated for Christmas.....

Something at Amie Soto Blossom's height to see.........

It was cold and icy, looking around the beautiful old shops it brought the magic of Christmas shopping back. No pushing and shoving here.......

If your stuck in the snow you need some thing to warm you up....try this recipe for Wassail Punch............. with compliments from my friend Jan........

If you don't know............ Wassail Punch takes its name from the Anglo Saxon toast "Waes Hael" or Good Health.

You need 4 whole small eating apples with 2 cloves stuck in each.
8 oz of soft brown sugar
1 pint of medium sherry
1 cinnamon stick
4 pints of brown ale (I'm sure you could be inventive here if you can't get hold of brown ale).
Thinly pared rind of 2 oranges

Set oven to 350 or Mark 4. Put the apples in an ovenproof dish and pour the sugar over them.
Pour in the sherry, add the cinnamon stick and bake for 20 minutes, or until the apples are just beginning to soften and brown. DO NOT OVERCOOK, Transfer the contents into a large saucepan and pour in the ale with the orange rinds. Heat until it just begins to simmer.
That's it. It's ready to serve, but you need something heat proof to put it in...

There is another you might like this is called Lambs Wool. It's a hot spiced ale, popular in the Middle Ages.
The name comes about due to the fluffy white flesh which burst through the skins of the roasted apples which floated on top of the bowl of ale.

4 eating apples
4 pints of ale or cider
6 cloves and 1 tablespoon of grated nutmeg. Half a teaspoon of ground ginger. Pinch of allspice. I cinnamon stick, 1 - 2 tablespoons dark soft brown sugar....

Set oven to 400 or Mark 6. Put the apples in a baking dish with a little ale, cider or water and cook for 30 minutes until the apple flesh is "woolly" in texture.
Meanwhile heat the ale or cider, spices and sugar to taste in a large pan over a low heat until very hot, but do not allow to boil. Strain into a large serving bowl. Scoop out the apple pulp with a spoon, discarding the core and the pips and pile on the hot ale. Serve hot with a scoop of apple flesh......

Seasons Greeting .............

Friday, 18 December 2009

Plymouth Barbican in December

This view could have been taken at the height of Summer. Except with the wind chill factor coming across Plymouth Sound this morning it was really minus 5 deg. I'm sure that sounds very warm for some places in the world, or very cold...

Here is the give a way I won from Wendy at Wendy Carole's stuff.
I have at last somewhere to put oranges and cloves.
I normally hang them up on ribbon
But as the orange gets smaller they fall out of the ribbon.

So now I have a proper home for them at Christmas. It's not Christmas unless I smell oranges and cloves around the place. I thought Wendy's quilted container really clever.

can even hold nuts............ I hope Wendy is happy that her give a way went to a good home.
If you click and visit Wendy on the above link I know her cat is in the proverbial dog house by the way......

I have been catnip mousing this week.
Eight catnip mice, four for cats and three for the cats next door, except they don't know they have them shhhhhh.............

The smell of the oranges takes away the smell of catnip......

Well it does for me, not too sure if it has the same effect on Hannah.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Present for the Bear

The cottage bear has been sent a Christmas present.

In the post today the cottage bear received
a present from Biddle over at Wendy Carole Stuff.

Isn't that thoughtful.....thank you WENDY.....and Biddle......

The bear won't open it until Christmas Day.... (Amie will give him some help, I'll help Amie).
I also had my winnings from Wendy's give a way.
You will see this before Christmas, when I have had a chance to show it off at it's best.
Again, thank you Wendy.

The week has been hectic, and I have yet to get around to thanking all that entered into the bear give a way, and commiserations to all that didn't win. I should have made more bears as I would have loved to have sent you all one after all your beautiful comment... THERE WILL BE OTHER SOGGIBOTTOM BEARS around next year.

I found the little devils very addictive after I had made the very first bear.
Look where it has led me friends all around the world, funny, humorous, interesting, talented, generous and delightfull people.........

I was going to retire Perkins from the window over Christmas but after looking back at the photo's of him when we found him in the junk...oops....antique shop in Plymouth back in September. I hadn't the heart to put him in a dust free spot.....(BOX) the cottage has now acquired another cottage window seat bear and Perkins has a knitted muffler for the occasion.

I have just read another blog about keeping a marble in a bag, in case someone thinks you've lost one..... I'll leave that to your imagination (I'm going to have to make a bag for mine).

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Dog Dreams

If you ever have the chance to go to "Tidy Tails"........

Make sure you have the BEST dog shampoo............



Especially when it's Christmas ...............

Tuesday, 15 December 2009


HI guys, here are the results of the draw for the Soggibottom Bear.........

Three comments had to be discounted... So 53 pieces of paper.

The hat was given a very good shake as I promised.........

Tony whisked them around again.........

and then pulled out number. 17

Reading down the comments number 17.......................

is.............. LOIR ........... Congratulations.........

Thank you to all that entered.

Although you might not have won this time,
the cottage and I will have other birthdays.

There will other bears around waiting for new homes.......

Monday, 14 December 2009

Bear Draw

Just to remind you that The Bear Draw will close at 12.00 p.m. (midnight) G.M.T. 14th December.

The draw will take place 12.00 noon. G.M.T. 15th December.......

Saturday, 12 December 2009


Hi guys,
I have started to get bored with the bear....sorry!

I made him so I can say that. He is ready and waiting for the number that will be picked on the

Wow have you surprised me. All the beautiful blogs I had no idea about.....ABSOLUTELY FABULOUSLY GREAT...... so much for me to read.

For those that don't know me, I don't always read blogs properly (as thoroughly as I should)..
FORGIVE ME.... it gets me into heaps of trouble.....

Never intentionally. x x x

Have to tell you that Tony picked the sprouts from our veggie garden this afternoon.
Maybe not in blogger world, but he has looked after them all year for this very moment.....PICKING TIME........

Not the usual Christmas pic I know, but hey, that's Soggibottom "stuff"..... instead of the Christmas tree, you have sprouts. I've posted Christmas tree's before, but never sprouts.

We do normal Christmas "stuff"..... in case your wondering!

Thank you to everyone who wished me (and the Cottage) a happy birthday...I had a really good day......YES....O.K......and another year older.....but that is only on my birth certificate.
It does say 7 th has a 1 and a 9 in it...and the um 5...and OK ANOTHER 5....
change of subject.

I am well renowned for not winning a thing, no matter what it is that I enter....but I did win a few months ago I won a beautiful bag...from a one of my favorite artist in blog land..................and tonight I have won something else (something being the word here, as I haven't a clue what it is) ..I clicked and wished a happy was me!.........I entered twice....I own up.......didn't mean to, how did I enter twice?....I think I forgot to add something to the first comment............before I tangle myself up any further.....I won for the first comment........and I WAS REALLY PLEASED, even if I don't know what it is! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !! !

The moral's just as good to receive as to give.
Here is the link to Wendy Carole.....and her "STUFF".

Next year she is going to grow sprouts for Christmas, well..I'm sure she will. Wendy has a beautiful blog.
Thanks Wendy hope I have done you justice for all the times you have left comments on Soggibottom and I haven't really finished posting. Wow this lady is quick. x x x
I edit quite a lot.

Good luck to every one on Tuesday for the Soggibottom Birthday bear give a way, you have left such beautifully inspired comments......they all make me smile, wish I could be the best bear maker in the world....
I'm not, but thanks anyway...........

See you on Tuesday.....You have two days left to enter................ Michele/Midge x x x
Sprout news: There are the sprouts you buy and there are the ones you grow. These have been grown in red South Devon soil, and even I (not really the best sprout lover of the world) love these..... if your kids won't eat them....tip: add a sprinkle of vinegar over them, when I was a kid it was the only way I would eat them.....ALRIGHT....we won't mention which year. x x x

Sunday, 6 December 2009


December the 7th is birthday day in the cottage tomorrow.

It is also the anniversary of the date we moved in here.

Here is the small mohair Soggibottom Bear I made last week.... I don't normally name Soggibottom bears, this little guy has a hat that looks like a christmas pudding and a festive green ribbon around his neck. He has ultra suade paws and sewn claws.
He's also got a very soggibottom, full of lead shot, so he is small, but quite heavy.
I haven't made him for a child to play with, he is all artist bear.
All he needs is a new window to look out of.

He could be yours, depending where in the world he goes, you might not have him before Christmas. No rules, you just have to LEAVE A COMMENT, all very easy "stuff".

No special blogger rules, it's open to anyone, and everyone, anywhere.

If your not a blogger you can still enter, if you email me I will add your name to the list. Only one go. No sneaking in twice.....I will check .........

Closing date for the last comment is December 14th. A WHOLE WEEK.....

Tony, Amie and the mob (Frank, Hannah, Mew and Fluffs) will pull out one of the names from a Christmas hat on December 15th............As long as you leave me some kind of contact or we won't know where to send him........he's all yours.

Perkins, the Soggibottom bear and William of Orange aren't included, they are Soggibottom Cottage bears but the little guy could be yours.

GOOD LUCK. Don't forget if your not in it you can't win it. x x x

I'm sure not many other give a ways add a footnote.....I just love being different..
Bloggers thank you for all your comments so far, don't forget this is OPEN TO EVERYONE..... in any country in the world.
EVERYONE, me if you can't leave a comment and I will add your name..........or number as that is the way we have decided to make the draw.....
No names in the hat, just numbers......then we will look to see which number comment has won.....We hope you feel this is fair....we also promise to give the hat a really, really good shake....

Saturday, 5 December 2009

What to do when it keeps raining.

Keep dry..........

I have been bear making so apologize for soggibottoms sparse post this week.

I didn't get mixed up, this is a doll and not a bear, for all the bright sparks who know of my cultural mistake this week and have fallen from their chair laughing.

Shall we say that languages were never a hot spot with me.................

Monday, 30 November 2009

Free 1925 Soggibottom Teddy Bear Pattern. How to fit Cotter Pins and Safety Joints

It's really great to receive so many email's about the 1925 Ted Pattern.
To everyone, THANK YOU, you are very welcome.
It's amazing it's so popular in Russia.
It would be great to see your creations.

Most of my mail repeats itself .. How do cotter pins work ?

If you haven't a clue, I will try to explain. (oh muddy waters....)

Above you will see various sizes of cotter pins, and washers and disks.
Looking at some other sites and books I can understand how sometimes it seems complicated....IT IS A MYTH...... you need to find the right size disk to fit the top of your arm or leg to start with. The disk should fill as much space as it will allow at the upper part of the limb. If your making a bear, you will need 5 sets of joints. One for the head, two for the arms and two for the legs. Re reading this I find I repeat myself, but bear with me.

The 1925 pattern bear that I made... (oh here he is) ....
has cotter pin joints...
They are fine, great, and used by many bear artists and makers but not to be used unless they are intended to be made for an adult. NOT TO BE USED FOR A CHILD'S BEAR.

They have metal and small parts..... not the kind of "stuff", anyone in their right mind would want to pass to a child. The amount of metal I have found when restoring old bears is unbelievable to think they were given to children. When restoring my own bear I found SHARP METAL. I had him for my first Christmas....the reason why I am going to explain how to use SAFETY JOINTS first.

Above are two sets of joints, different sizes, you will need 5 sets to joint a bear.
4 sets of the same size for arms and legs and possibly a slightly larger joint for teds head.

For each joint you should have, a pegged disk, a plastic washer and one lock washer.

Insert the pegged disk into ted's arm, through the material (I use an awl to help me here).
Then it needs to go through the material where you are going to put the arm on the body.

Place a plastic washer over the end of the pegged disk (you are now working inside the teds body). Then place a lock washer (the small one) over the plastic washer AND PUSH HARD until it clicks into place. I tend to click right down here a few times until it won't click anymore.***
DONE.... One safety joint in place.


Cotter pins are slightly different, but don't let the small bits put you off. Its a bit like a sandwich.
The rounded end of the cotter pin, (the long metal bit) goes into a washer, then a disk. Now position it inside ted's arm where you are going to place his joint. Pass the cotter pin through the material*. Out the other side so it's now on the out side of ted's arm. Then pass the cotter pin through the material into ted's body. You are now working inside ted's body.

With me so far?
Now you add another disk then another metal washer.
This is the interesting bit.
The ends of the cotter pin need to be turned into a crook shape. The pin halves should be separated and curled down tightly onto the washer.
You can use a small pair of pliers or a cotter key.
Another joint........ DONE.....

That's about it really...although there are other joints to fix limbs to bears....
Pop rivet joints, Epoxy lock nut joints, setscrew joints, string joints and swivel tilt things for heads.

***One thing I didn't mention about the safety joints, once the lock washer is on, it is will ruin the joint trying to remove it. Not that you can't but you will have to use a new lock washer.
* I tend to use a fabric fray stopper around the point I want to place the joint on the fabric, on both safety joints and cotter pin joints. Have a practise always I'll always be pleased to help.

As for the 1925 bear.....Here he is with the cannonball beside the fire place. He's starting on a long journey in the morning. He's going somewhere cold, the reason why I gave him a hat and something warm to wear.
As always I hate to see them go...... I am sure we will see him again somewhere..................... although not with the cannon ball....far too heavy for the post.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Shelf Life

I'm busy making bears.

I have so many odd bits of mohair hanging around from larger bruins that I'm getting tougher on myself to use up the left overs.

The two little guys here are made from mohair that normally I would dump into my scrap box.

I keep every bit of mohair that's left over because.....I never know when I might need it!!!!!

SQUIRREL..... time for a clear out, with luck I'll be able to get into the cupboard under the stairs again. If you notice the clock above the fire has the same time on it since it was on here before. It probably has as we tend to forget to wind it up.....just in case anyone notices.........

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Christmas Cookie Recipe


After the tea posts this week and all the email's about tea some bright spark............

I know who you are!

Has sent this.......................

I've adapted it slightly, but you get the gist....enjoy.......

Christmas Cookie Recipe

1 cup of water
I tsp baking soda
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup of brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup of nuts
2 cups of dried fruit
1 bottle of Tequila

Sample the Tequila to check quality.
Take a large bowl, check the Tequila again to be sure it is of the highest quality
Pour one level cup over margarita, mix and drink.
Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.
Add one peastoon of sugar.
Beat again. At this point it's best to make sure the Tequila is still ok.
Try another drink just in case.
Turn off the mixerer thingy.
Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of fried druit.
Pick the flippin fruit off the floor.
Mix on the turner.
If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaters just pry it loose with a drewscriver.
Sample the Tequila again to check for tonsisticity.
Next, sift two cups of salt, or something.
Check the Tequila.
Bow shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.
Add one table.
Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. whatever you can find.
Greash the oven.
Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.
Don't forget to beat off the turner.
Finally, throw the bowl through the window,
finish the Tequila and make sure to put the stove in the dishdasher.

If you've read something like it before, sorry................
It made me laugh........ I don't drink Tequila, am I missing something here?
Thanks Sally !

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Biscuits Bandit

Another visit to the farm shop.
Bessie saw our car from the farm gate and came to greet us.
Our car is the one that has a number plate that says M.U.G.
We haven't seen her for a while, she is a working lady, last week she was out with her boss.

How could you not make a fuss of her and give her a cookie?
Amie never misses a few from her stash in the car.

Frank is slightly better.
Thanks to all who have sent him your best wishes.

He is walking on his bad leg and isn't limping so badly. To get him to take his medication is getting harder.
He is fed up of chicken and now on to fish (only the best stuff).
Any other suggestions to give him his medicine would be welcome.
Apart from holding open his mouth and pouring it in...THAT DOES NOT WORK......unless you want your hand back!

Monday, 23 November 2009

Too wet for Ducks

We can't say how sorry we feel for the rest of the country that have been flooded this weekend.

This is the stream that passes Soggibottom
Not a trickle of softy flowing water at the moment.
Neither is it the torrent of water that we have seen in past storms.
The level flowing past is acceptable unlike other times when you can't see the bank properly.
Or when the water has come rageing around the corner and has no where to go but inside the cottage.

We are always watchful of the water levels outside. It becomes habit forming checking the stream during bad weather especially at high tide or Spring tides.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Little wooden doll

The wooden doll above was sent to the cottage last year, from Michele. We both have the same name spelt the same way. One lives on one side of a the pond and one lives the other. One is a talented isn't!!!! No guessing which one here......O.K. I'm not..........

The doll arrived slightly too late to go onto our Christmas tree last year.
Instead she has been roaming around the cottage going from room to room in different locations. This little wooden doll has made me smile for months. Soon be time for her to do her stuff and sit on the Christmas tree.

I mentioned a teapot a couple of posts ago, o.k. not the one above, but for some strange reason, tea and teapots have been constantly in email's this week........ maybe we shouldn't mention the tea cozy! (I really did need one).