The blog of BaggieAggie, designer of bags, gadget cases and other fabulous accessories handmade in Wales. Sprinkled with recipes, gardening chat, the odd piece of short fiction, and anything else that inspires (or annoys!) me. So pull up a comfy chair and stay a while.


Sunday, 29 August 2010

The Edinburgh Festival Alternative

It's been a bit of a crazy week, mostly thanks to the weather, which has put me all behind. Why, I hear you ask? Well, here in Wales we've had the worst torrential rain I've ever seen. It caused damage to our roof and consequently to the bathroom ceiling, which collapsed. Excitement we could definitely have done without. So most of our days have been spent dealing with the mess and various tradesmen tramping in and out. The roof itself was repaired very quickly and efficiently and we've found a good electrician who's disconnected the electrics and is ready to begin work once the ceiling's been replaced. (Both tradesmen recommended by a neighbour.) But finding a builder/plasterer who doesn't think he's taking part in the Edinburgh Festival (ie.quoting comedic you're-avin-a-larf prices) is proving to be troublesome, so we could be living without a bathroom ceiling for a lot longer than planned!

Even surrounded by all this mayhem, I did manage to get some sewing done - the fab and funky business card wallet and cute child's backpack pictured here.

Blogging about anything else, though (the nice exciting things that have happened to me, and yes, there've actually been some, lol!), I'm afraid will have to wait for a day or two, till I've caught up with some housework and got my breath back!

Friday, 27 August 2010

Fast Fiction Friday 9

Apologies for the delay, but here it finally is - The Wrong Room. ©opyright, as always, remains solely with me, the author.


His current name is John. John Dale. An ordinary name, an invisible name, plucked from the air for that very reason. He lives inside his head and rarely speaks. He keeps himself to himself. It wasn’t always so, not before that last night in Basingstoke.
   He sits at a corner table for one, on a busy terrace overlooking a sea the same shade of blue as the Miro print on the whitewashed wall behind him. Though he belongs now on the fringes of society, he seeks the company of crowds. They shield him, like a locked door, from the horror lurking in the basement. They keep him anchored in the present. For a while, at least. Alone at night, in cheap no-questions-asked hotels, the past always wins, unless he’s drunk himself into oblivion.
   A black and white figure in a ridiculous oversized sombrero flits by his table, a tray of chinking glasses held aloft, blond sweat-dark hair fastened in a stubby ponytail. John lifts a hand to his own hair, blond too beneath the mouse-brown L’OrĂ©al.
   Hey! Waiter! Any chance of some service here? Natives gone for a kip and left you to it, have they? Bleeding siestas. Good job you student types come here for the summer or we’d all die of thirst.
   Do they make you wear that hat for the tourists, then? Or was it your idea, to keep the sun off? Can hardly see your face. Good idea if you’ve only just arrived, mind. Sun’s bleeding strong here, even in the late afternoon. Course, I’m used to it. Almost a native now.
   Hey! I was here before them. Or was I. Maybe not. And anyway, they look like they need a drink even more than me. Frying on the beach all day, I expect. Can smell the suntan oil from here. Deep meaningful looks and holding hands under the table. Just wait till later, when the pink turns red. That’ll put an end to the shagging for a day or two.
   Speaking of which, it’s been a long time. Two years, to be exact. Can’t get it up any more, not since… Hey! Where the hell are you going now? No, no, you’re right. That old couple was already here when I sat down. Germans, aren’t they? Or maybe Dutch. Never was much good at languages. Well, what’s the point? Everyone speaks English. Except the bleeding French. They do it on purpose, you know, to piss us off. If I’d known, I’d have bought a phrase book at Dover. Needed all the help I could get, with the cops on my tail.
   Ah! You’ve noticed me at last. An apologetic glance that says ‘on my way’. And about time too.
   What the…? No, it can’t be… But it is, it is! Those amazing violet eyes, just like your ma’s! Scarred chin. Happened when you fell off your trike that time. Jesus Christ, you’ve come searching for me like I always feared you would. Close up, you’ll see through the dyed hair and brown contacts, right into my soul, what’s left of it. I have to – need to – get up and run. Run and run, across the sand and into the sea and swim to Africa. But I can’t. I’m frozen solid from the inside out.
   I love you, son. Please believe that. And I loved your ma, even after what she did. If I hadn’t got wrecked again that night, maybe we could’ve worked things out, me and her. She always said drink’d be my downfall and she was right.
   All that blood, so much blood. Everywhere, it was. Splattered up the walls, soaked right through the mattress. The Butcher of Basingstoke, they called me. Bleeding tabloids.
   I had no idea. No idea your ma was having an affair. I should have done. Even your Uncle Jack knew, and he was permanently bladdered. He told me, in the Feathers that night. Her boss, he said. Been going on for months. When I got home, there he was, her bastard loverboy, stretched out in our bed like he belonged there. At least, that’s what I thought. Bleeding drink messed up my radar good and proper. You have to believe I didn’t know. I didn’t know. Please, if you leave me be I promise I’ll never touch another drop, I promise I promise…
   I can’t stand it any longer. Do what you’ve come to do. It can’t be worse than all those terrible dreams and sleepless nights. Put me out of my misery. I’m ready, ready as I’ll ever be. Just make it quick, please make it quick…
   Wha…? I don’t believe it! You don’t look anything like my boy! Apart from the hair. Not even a hint of a scar. And I could’ve sworn, bleeding sworn…
   Is this my punishment, God? For running away? Don’t you think I hurt enough already? Don’t you? It was an accident, for Pete’s sake! I didn’t mean to kill him. It was the wrong room, the wrong bleeding room oh God...
   Don’t fuss, waiter, don’t fuss. Yes, I expect I do look like I’ve seen a ghost. For a minute there I thought…
   He lowers his wet face into shaking hands and forces down bile. Words form, fat and ungainly, on a tongue that feels and tastes like a slab of bloodless liver. “Get me a large scotch and I’ll be fine,” he croaks. “No, wait. On second thoughts, bring me the bleeding bottle.” 

© Rosie Rose

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Apple trees in pots on patio or deck

Red Windsor apple tree in pot. In January 2009, two apple minarettes arrived, dormant and packed in straw. After taking advice on what types of apples we could successfully grow in our particular part of the UK, we'd chosen the varieties Red Windsor and Sunset (pollination groups A and B respectively, for harvests in early and mid-autumn). Equally excited and nervous, we planted them in large pots using John Innes No.3. Knowing we'd have to repot and cut back root growth every 2-3 years, and mindful of drainage and deck-cleaning issues, we set the pots on wheeled trolleys.

In the first year, we had little blossom and therefore little fruit. And what fruit did appear was destroyed by what we discovered were codling moth. Not that we should have allowed the trees to fruit at all in their first year, but we couldn't resist! We'd learned our lesson, though, and that autumn both trees were protected against these wee beasties by wrapping codling moth traps around each slender trunk. It was only in the following spring that we realised we'd forgotten to wrap the traps around the tree stakes as well. Duh!

So, convinced that codling moth would win the day again, we watched in trepidation as masses of scented apple blossom appeared and disappeared, and fruits began to swell. We fed the trees with tomato food at two-weekly intervals, just in case all was well, and prayed.

Thankfully, our prayers were answered: the Red Windsor apples in the photo are almost ready to harvest and look fine. Phew! The Sunset fruits look good too, and we'll be harvesting those in late September/early October. (Of course, now I've said that, something unforeseen is bound to happen. Watch this space...!)

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Free UK P&P till midnight, Sunday 22nd August...

... on all handcrafted accessories at BaggieAggietoo. If any (or all!) of the following resonate, then take advantage of this offer:

♥ You're looking for a unique gift priced at under £6.00.
♥ Your business cards are a dog-eared mess in the bottom of your bag.
♥ You never have a business card handy when you need one.
♥ You struggle to find your keys in bag or pocket when juggling kids, shopping and car doors.
♥ And when you do eventually lay your hands on them, you drop them - invariably in a puddle!
♥ You sometimes like to leave the house without taking a bag or jacket with you, eg. walking the dog, posting a letter, etc.

Simply purchase as normal, and the P&P charge will be refunded via Paypal. Don't see a colour or fabric combination that suits? This offer also applies to custom orders, so let me know your requirements through BaggieAggietoo before the deadline expires.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Fast Fiction Friday 8

Today's short story, Locked In, Locked Out, has won several prizes. The chief judge of one competion commented as follows: "Of 338 entries, Locked In, Locked Out jumped to the front of the queue. This story has everything; sadness, tragedy and humour, not a word wasted and it has a great ending.” I hope you enjoy it as much as he did. ©opyright, as always, remains solely with me, the author.

(Removed to free up space. If you'd like to read it, let me know and I'll pop it back up. Alternatively, take a look at some of my very short flash fiction pieces. :-)

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

My first custom order!

This gorgeous business card wallet was made as a custom order for someone who'd fallen in love with the fabric (which I'd used for a wristlet key fob listed on Folksy). It was a joy to make, and the customer was thrilled with it:

"It has arrived and it's perfect! Thank you for customising to my chosen fabric xx"

So, if you never have a business card to hand when you need one, or they're in a dog-eared muddle in the bottom of your bag, then Daisy and other designs can be viewed here. More to be added soon, but if you don't see a colour or fabric that's quite 'you' in the meantime, just ask - I'll almost certainly have something suitable in stock. And if I haven't, I'm sure I'll be able to source it!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Have Kate and Madonna really made knitting cool?

Among other things, I design no-sew knit-and-felt bag purse patterns, selling exclusively now through Ravelry and Craftsy (as downloads) and Etsy (as PDFs sent direct to a buyer's inbox). Interest has been huge, and the pattern on the left is one of my best sellers. Oddly, though, 99% of my customers are from the US. I've had the occasional Canadian and Australian buyer, but very little interest from the UK. Unexpectedly, the few UK sales I did make came mostly through eBay. (That was shortlived, though, as I logged on one day to find that eBay had removed all my pattern listings, for the reason that sending items by digital means is not allowed. When I asked why, no-one could give me a sensible answer. As sending hardcopy through the mail would have made the patterns unattractively expensive, that was the end of that!)

Anyway, I digress! The reason for this post is to try to find out why there's such an apparent lack of interest in knitting in the UK. It's a huge industry in the States, and lots of celebrities have supposedly made it 'cool'. So is it the prices of designer patterns that puts Brits off? Possibly, as I was once asked by a UK eBayer if I would consider selling one (priced at what I consider a modest £2.75) at half price. I politely explained the work and time involved, and pointed her at Etsy and Ravelry, where most pattern prices are a lot higher than mine, and she came back and bought!

So are we simply a nation of tight-wallets who want everything at car-boot prices? Or is it something else...? Your thoughts gratefully received!

(To those interested, the actual bag above, fully lined and with magnetic snap fastening, is available here.)

Friday, 13 August 2010

Fast Fiction Friday 7

Comments or constructive crit welcomed. ©opyright, as always, remains solely with me, the author.


In the vomit stink from the toilet bowl she opens up the plastic bag, its contents reeking of catastrophe. Max’s phone nestles there, in fabrics washed, pressed, brushed with love before he drove into the winter bearing clown-wrapped gifts for his grandson.
   Numb fingers scroll through the phone’s address book, unsteady and unready, till she finds what she’s looking for.
   “Dad!” exclaims the remote voice. “Where on earth are you? We had to light Ben’s candles without you, or Mum would’ve been late for work. Are you still coming?”
   Head fizzes and hospital sounds recede. She leans against the toilet door, afraid she’ll faint. “Susie, it’s Helen, your dad’s…” The word ‘wife’ sticks in her throat.
   Through Susie’s screamed insults, Helen somehow manages to tell her of the accident. “I’ll ring again when the funeral’s arranged. I’m so sorry, pet.”
   “Don’t you pet me, you cow! I’ll arrange my dad’s funeral, not you, you husband-stealing bitch!”
   A handheld circular saw is set between the corpse’s thighs. With the noise of a hundred giant mosquitos it splits the spine like a tree branch, pausing only when it reaches the grey-beard chin. Then, guided by the vertical centre of the cold dead face, it continues till the spinning blade clears the hairless crown in a whirl of tiny splinters. With surgical precision, the organs are removed and bisected. Two coffins await the undertaker’s handiwork...
   Half-wishing it could be so, Helen burrows into the yawning plastic bag and hides her face in the Jazz-scented folds of Max’s car coat. She cries till there’s no mascara left.

©Rosie Rose

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Quick Macaroni Cheese With A Twist!

Serves 4 - 6

1lb / 500g penne pasta
1 large onion, chopped
1 can condensed tomato soup, large
6ozs mature Cheddar cheese

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the onion and pasta, and cook as directed on the pasta packet. Tip into a colander and drain.

Turn your grill to 'High' and warm a large ovenproof dish.

Tip the drained pasta and onion back into the pan. Stir in the condensed tomato soup and half the cheese. Mix thoroughly over a low heat to warm through, then tip the mixture into the warmed ovenproof dish. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and grill till brown and bubbling.

Serve with a green salad or green vegetable such as broccoli.


Sunday, 8 August 2010

I've won a blog award!

As a blogging newbie, I was absolutely thrilled (not to mention shocked!) to find that the lovely Melissa at Hand Made Me (Lulliloo Designs) had selected me to receive the One Lovely Blog Award. Thank you so much, Mel! Do check out her gorgeous blog, everyone - it's well worth a visit. :-)

As a recipient, I'm now able to pass on this award to seven other blogs. An incredibly difficult choice as I love all those I follow, but here is my final list, in no particular order. To accept the award, these bloggers (once I've let them know they've won) must agree to pass it on to seven of their favourites.

Charlotte Hupfield Ceramics The blog of a talented ceramics designer and maker. Charlotte's fabulous work can be seen in UK galleries as well as online. Just gorgeous!

Much Ado About Paper The blog of Debbie Gill of Crafty_Mushroom, the designer and maker of fun and original greetings cards. Guaranteed to put a smile on your face!

Shpangle Mick's blog is always an engrossing read and filled with gorgeous photographs. He specialises in preserving your personal mementos, such as locks of hair, in beautiful handmade jewellery. He's also the founder of the recently-formed crafts directory, Crafts4Charity.

Womagwriter An absolute must for both budding and seasoned writers of commercial fiction. Bursting at the seams with the latest news, markets and guidelines, it's one of the best writing sites on the web.

Claire Ogden Designs Claire loves to hear your views on her work, and organizes occasional competitions with the most exquisite prizes - her stunning handcrafted jewellery and wedding pieces. And I mean stunning!

Angel Eden Already a multi-award winner ('s Mom Blogger of the Week, and Dorset Cereals' Little Blog Awards). Check it out to see why!

Six Sentences What can you say in six sentences? Submit to and/or read this highly entertaining blog, one of Writers' Digests' 101 Best Websites for Writers.

Do pay them all a visit, and enjoy them as much as I do. :-)

Friday, 6 August 2010

Fast Fiction Friday 6

This week's tale is Better Than Chocolate. An early version was published in Scribble magazine a few years ago, not long after I'd found the courage to show my own scribbles to the world for the first time. Rather longer than my usual FFFs, but a light-hearted easy read that should (hopefully!) give you a laugh on this wet and grey Friday.

Removed on Sunday to save on blog space. If anyone fancies a read, ask via the comments box and I'll put it up again. Alternatively, check out FFF 5 in the archive. :-)

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Yummy Green Bean Salad

Yummy recipe: Green bean salad with mint.

Our bean plants are producing fruit like there's no tomorrow! We've also got lots of mint, so here's a salad I'll be making tonight:

Serves 6 to 8

600g trimmed green beans (if very large, cut into manageable lengths)
3 tbsp olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp fresh mint, chopped

1. Steam the beans for 10 minutes, then refresh under cold running water. Shake well and pat dry. Leave to fully cool.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a small pan, add garlic and fry quickly till crisp and lightly golden. Leave to cool.

3. Whisk together remaining oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, and stir in the mint. Pour the mixture over the beans and mix well.

4. Tip into a serving bowl and scatter over the garlic in its oil. Chill if desired.

Steps 1 and 2 can be done the day before if wanted – put the beans and garlic (in its oil) in separate bowls, cover with cling film and store in the fridge.


Sunday, 1 August 2010

Four great reasons to own a wrist key fob!

Cat - Cat Looking Down Drain, My Keys Are Lost, Who Has A Magnet Pictures, Images and Photos

1. No more dropping your keys in puddles or down a drain! (Image by Fredcat.)

2. No more fumbling in bag or pockets when juggling shopping, kids and car doors. Wear the fob on your wrist and keep it there in use - no need to remove it to open your door.

3. Perfect for those times when you don't want or need to take a bag or jacket out with you - walking the dog, nipping out to post a letter, etc., etc. Simply wear your keys on your wrist.

4. No more difficulty finding your keys in the dark depths of that over-stuffed bag. With a gorgeous fob attached, they'll be easily found!

Pink floral wrist key fob or keyring, perfect teacher gift.

For details of Pink Flower and other beautiful handcrafted wrist fobs, visit