01/03/2015 § 9 Comments
I know – you hate them too – large plastic planters in orange or green tones. I needed some very large pots and took a jaunt off to a wonderful nursery near Stockbridge the other day. There they have an amazing array of planters but the ones I wanted were stone and cost way, way over my budget. Later that day I took a trip to our local household recycling centre and was amazed to find a whole stack of 5 pots which were just the right size but unfortunately all plastic! After a swift negotiation though, they came home with me – all for well under a tenner!
I had an audience whilst I prepared my paints – yes, I decided to paint them and see what I could achieve …
Latest news … Fluff has been chased off the window feeder by Mrs Blackbird who is stocking up for night-time. She just loves mealworms! The tiny tomtits are really noisy and land on the feeder with such a wallop – as though they have their wellies on! I have an amazing number of birds visiting the kitchen feeders – long tailed tits the other day. It was such a treat to see their beautiful blush colours.
What have you been up to this weekend?
please leave a comment …
24/02/2015 § 6 Comments
A new quilt commission always fills me with excitement and this quilt was a long time in the planning. The brief was for ” … a patchwork quilt and 2 large matching cushions … with a French/Parisian theme to cover an antique French day bed … pastel shades – pinks, blues and greens … fabrics containing images of handbags, shoes, Eiffel Tower or anything associated with France/Paris”.
I gathered together fabrics …
Then I went about my happy cutting out, creating and planning, piecing and stitched, layering up and quilting followed by a couple of evenings hand-stitching all around the binding edge of the quilt – oh how I love that bit!
I’m so pleased with how it turned out – it’s a complete froth of pastel shades working together around the strong Paris print in double-size patches. There was a lot of diagonal quilting to dissect the 4″ squares but it was worth it. The quilt is backed with pure white fleece and is lightly wadded so it will wash and dry easily. My client has had quilts from me before including one for her little girl which she assured me is still ‘going strong’ after 2 years of being snuggled beneath and played with every day. I’m also delighted to say that she was thrilled with her new quilt. Phew – it’s always a relief when someone sees their quilt for the first time and loves it. There are lots of stories about quilt commissions if you follow the link on the left of your screen – so many quilts!!!
Now – pink candlesticks …
As ever, I’m very bad at taking ‘before’ photos because I’m always in such a rush to get stuck into a project. A pair of brass candlesticks from I-know-not-where have been huddled in the corner of the patio for at least 2 years. They were behind a very large flower pot! I gave them a wash down and then treated myself to a spray can of Candy Pink paint! Here they are on the newly laid out Spring mantlepiece in the lounge …
Enjoy your week.
19/02/2015 § 12 Comments
Mother Duck has been snatching sunny moments in the garden. She’s been having a lovely time finding worms for me – such a tasty treat – and I’ve been helping by getting under her feet and pushing my beak in where her trowel is digging and planting. I can’t wait till she gets going in the main garden instead of faffing around with pots of bulbs and those big white sinks.
I thought you might like to see some rare winter colours and pretty corners of my garden …
Then, I had a waddle down to see what was happening under the rose arch, then back to my daytime perch on the verandah – it’s a bit chilly and damp today. Good weather for ducks!!!
Mother Duck’s been doing a lot of quilting so I’m sure she’ll have lots to show you next time!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ please leave a comment ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
18/02/2015 § 2 Comments
Wow – I’ve won an award …
Have you discovered Houzz? If you’re looking for home ideas, it’s awesome. Some really amazing design ideas from all over the world. It’s not like Pinterest – it has links to professionals and design consultants so you can get in touch with real people … like me!!!
I’ve just finished my first quilt of the year, too – a commission. It will have it’s very own ta-dah moment very soon, but here’s a sneak preview …
Have just booked to see La Traviata in London next week – SOOOOoooooo excited!
14/02/2015 § 6 Comments
It’s wonderful to be in love, or to have been loved, to give love, to feel love …
We often gave each other hearts – Himself and me. They were dotted around the house hanging here and there from a cupboard or hook so I decided, after decorating the bedroom that I’d like to group them together.
I rescued a silver birch branch from a local wood and on the grey feature wall in my calm and tranquil room, I gathered them together with a couple of special photographs and now I have a Wall of Hearts. The woodland theme brings me peace and the gentle fairy lights woven around white twigs, with one of my fairy light lanterns, create the softest light.
Wishing you all a LOVEly day … on Valentine’s Day.
11/02/2015 § 14 Comments
400 posts - W O W …
By far the most popular post on my little blog followed my progress with Gypsy Rose, a colourful crochet blanket made of granny squares and a wide multi-coloured border, back in 2012. I remember finishing the final shell border whilst sitting in the car, waiting for Himself to stock up at the local supermarket, after we’d travelled down to Cornwall for the half-term holiday. It seems like a lifetime away.
The border in what I called Tweed Stitch, has attracted SOoooo much attention from when it was first photographed in this post “Between the Lines” …
Gypsy Rose now lives in one of our bedrooms, where I have my desk, and makes me smile every day. Life is nothing without colour!
Four hundred posts - Four Happy Things …
***1*** The Garden – I’m ultra excited about rediscovering the garden, following the recent landscaping team’s efforts! Today I treated myself to a rambling rose called Albertine. I’ve wanted one for years and for no particular reason had never got round to actually making the purchase. The collies and I took a short jaunt this afternoon, to Pococks Roses. Out went a poor old rose that I’ve never particularly liked, in front of the house and now, my beloved Albertine is planted to one side of the porch where I’m hoping it will thrive and scramble over the front of the house, like this one!
***2*** House Number – nobody seems to be able to see the little slate house number that’s on our gatepost. So, having picked up the numbers in the Homebase sale, I’ve been on the lookout for a piece of wood to put them on. I wanted something rustic rather than just screwing them into the wall. Yesterday, on my walk through the woods with the girls, I found a perfect offcut left over from some forestry clearance and today I drilled (with my new cordless drill), screwed and hammered (when in doubt, use a hammer) – and here’s the new house number …
***3*** Quilt commission – I’m working on a couple of quilt commissions at the moment and today I met up with a lovely lady to chat about her dream quilt – pinks and roses – oh boy, I can’t wait to get started! One very happy way to spend a morning, surrounded with fabrics and having a good ‘ol chat! I’ll let you see the finished quilt in a couple of months!
***4*** Feeling OK-(ish) and not unhappy – some regular readers will know that my life changed dramatically last October … here … I haven’t blogged about the day to day challenges but family and friends have never been more important and I think I’m doing OK. One tip I’ll share is that if you ever have a friend who’s going through a difficult time, bake them something. Everyone asks if they can do something to help and I hope I’ve thanked everyone on whom we all leaned so very heavily in those first early days and weeks.
When one of my friends asked what she could do, I said “Please make us a shepherd’s pie”. It was enormous and despite not feeling hungry, we all cut slabs and enjoyed some good old-fashioned comfort food. My best friend kept us supplied with teas and coffees, bread and essentials then arrived with a wonderful homemade Victoria Sponge. Never have I been so grateful for friends who are awesome cooks! It’s easy to feel a bit guilty about feeling happy – or at least not unhappy.
Well, that’s a long 400th post. Well done if you’ve got this far and do, please let me know you’re out there by leaving a comment – I love to read your comments. I’ll hand back to Flora to do a picture-post next time!
Lots of love
04/02/2015 § 6 Comments
Here’s the ‘back story’ – as Kristin Nicholas of Getting-Stitched-on-the-Farm blogspot calls them …
Do you recognise this old fellow?
It’s Johnny Morris who presented Animal Magic for many years, on children’s’ television. I absolutely loved this programme when I was 8 or 9 – maybe younger. Johnny would imitate the animals and have conversations with them – doing his voice and the animals. It was magical and something I still do quite unconsciously – imagine what the animal are saying.
I’ll always remember one programme where he made ‘Dabble Grish’ – a silly name for a mixture of just about anything that’s good for garden birds in winter. I made some a few weeks ago and today decided to top up the flowerpots. Curious? Here’s how to make a hanging bird feeder from store cupboard ingredients and create your own Dabble Grish …
I used some just out-of-date nuts and dried fruits to add to the wild bird seed, dripping (have no idea what that was doing in the fridge), a handful of oats, a few flowerpots, some twigs and string. I roughly chopped the whole nuts before adding them.
snip some twigs to fit across the bottom of the flowerpots and tie a loop of string …
thread through the hole in the flowerpot and place a bit of fat over the hole to stop the filling coming out. I put my flowerpots into cake cases to catch any melted fat.
Then put the ‘ingredients’ into a bowl and add the melted fat. I add as many porridge oats as it takes to soak up the wet mixture.
Mix it all up so all the mixture is coated in fat and will stick together as it solidifies, then spoon into the flowerpots, pressing down firmly.
Push a twig into each pot and firm around it. This will help the blue tits to perch close to the food while they’re pecking at it. Then hang them up around the garden, where you can see them from a window – and wait for your garden visitors.
Dabble Grish for garden birds!
There’s a useful list here of what you can feed garden birds.
I love to see the birds and always have a huge container of wild bird seed in the corner of the kitchen, from which I top up the bird feeders every morning. My favourite bird feeders (apart from my flowerpots) are these …
Such a brilliant design with suction pads that stick to the window and a little roof to keep the seed dry. You can see the birds clearly through the cut-out window in the back and the feeding tray unclips easily for cleaning. There’s a little section for water too. I bought two last year and the birds have loved visiting them – and I’ve enjoyed watching them feeding.
After all that ‘cooking’ I needed my own winter fuel this morning …
It’s still really cold here, although yesterday’s dusting of snow quickly melted. I’m just off for a good walk around the farm, with the collies. Flora’s in the pond enjoying a splash, so I’ve reclaimed my blog for today!
My next post will be my 400th and I think I may revisit some of the most popular topics from the past 4 years. Thank you so much to everyone who left a comment on my last post – it’s so lovely to hear from you. Sometimes it feels a bit lonely, so do join in and have a chat.
Do you feed the garden birds? What’s your favourite winter fuel breakfast/lunch/dinner?
Keep warm and snug …