Saturday, 28 December 2013

Christmas Catch Up

I always make room for the tree, but our house is too small for many other decorations. I suddenly thought that one way of making it more festive was to make seasonal cushion covers - voila, instant cheer!

I've had some Christmas fabric for twenty several years, and the tree one for about ten, and decided it was about time they were used. There are now three of each design, which can be removed after twelfth night, reverting to the Cath K type fabric underneath.


 Rosie insisted in muscling in on the act, for this one



In the garden, the weather has been fab today, after the strong winds earlier in the week. You would think it was summer, if the sun were higher


and a couple of blue tits have been showing a keen interest in the birdhouse, and look like they might be making an offer on it soon.



I hope you're all enjoying a good post-Christmas rest. xx




Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Finally There

Hi - we've finally come to the end of four months' building work, thank goodness. I want Christmas to be memorable for all the right reasons, so am not trying do all the usual stuff, just relax and enjoy. What isn't made or bought by now, we can live without.



DD1 and her hubby are coming for a meal this evening, and DD2 will arrive later today, stopping until Boxing Day. We have a simple family meal tonight - Mr Flutterby will prepare hot pork rolls for everyone - lovely, with stuffing and apple sauce - then I'll take Mum to her Midnight Mass (sensibly timed at 9pm!) Tomorrow I'll do the turkey dinner with all the trimmings, watch the Queen at 3pm and the rest of the day, we'll put our feet up, determined to make it stress-free.

There's lot to show you, after what has been a long break, so I'll post bite-size pieces with pics, starting after Christmas Day. In the meantime, I hope you all have a wonderful, stress-free Christmas and happy new year. xx


Wednesday, 11 September 2013

WOYWW? Not a lot!!

I've started this post several times, and it sounded just so gloomy and defeatist. The building work here has taken over the house (and most of my life) so there's no room to do anything crafty - most of the time I can't even get to the garden. However, it WILL be great when it's finished, and I'll have lots of lovely pics to show you. By the end of this week I have been promised a complete, waterproof roof over the new kitchen/diner.

In the meantime, I spend a lot of my free time squeezed in a 12' square sitting room - with Mum, Mr F, two cats and a lot of furniture, scouring Pinterest and getting scrummy ideas there.It's so helpful in deciding what I really like and don't like, or will or won't suit.  This project is a one-off and we'll be living with the results for the rest of our natural, so I've got to get it right first time.  I love all the white kitchens around, but you could fit the whole of our downstairs in most of them! I've no room for vignettes, or ladders or barn doors propped against a wall, for interest! I can't see Mr Flutterby going for a chandelier, and the popular open shelves look good, but I'm looking for less housework, not more.  You can see the way my mind is working, by looking at the Kitchen board on my Pinterest.

Have a great week, and enjoy visiting everyone who's being more productive than me, over at Julia's - http://stamping-ground.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/whats-on-your-workdesk-wednesday-223.html

Love for now, Chris xx

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

WOYWW - MIA

It seems forever since I wrote here, or even managed to do anything I would think of as crafty.  However, life has been going on apace since Mum came to live with us.

This week saw the start of building work, to halve my current kitchen to squeeze in a downstairs shower and loo for her, which has affected the whole of the ground floor.

This first pic shows my temporary kitchen in the sitting room, and the second, the rest of the room, with the furniture piled high.  This was before the kitchen ceiling and wall started to come down, hence the doors were still open.  I quickly learned to shut them!!



This is how the kitchen looks at the mo, but it should improve today, once the rest of the demolition is complete, and I can start clearing up. Fortunately, I can still climb over the rubble to use the sink and the cooker.


Mum, Mr Flutterby and I will be going out for lunch today, to get away from the noise and dirt. After that, I'll retreat to the garden to weed the veggies, while Mum has a rest.

Although this might all sound very negative, I'm delighted with how it's going - the new kitchen diner will be lovely and big, with the sitting room forming an L-shape off that.

Hope to see you all over at Julia's http://stamping-ground.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/seriously-whats-on-your-workdesk.html, and apologies in advance that I probably won't be able to visit more than a couple of you this week, in the circ's.  Love to all, though, Chris xx

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

WOYWW Summer Days

My first water lily appeared this week, and I do hope there are more to come on this one, as it's so pretty. With flowers the size of a small saucer, it's just right for the 5' or so pond. There's another lily in there, but only leaves as yet.


Sorry I couldn't get any closer but I was afraid of falling in (!) and I haven't sussed out the zoom on this camera yet.

Around the rest of the garden, it started with the purple shades, then pinks took over, but the whites are now taking centre stage.

At the side of the pond, the mock orange is giving off a delicious scent


so it's lovely to have the stone bench underneath, to sit and watch the pond life. The dragon and damsel flies are very busy, and I'm looking forward to introducing frogs by way of spawn, next year.


I've just noticed on that pic how much bare fence there is here, so I'll try to do something about that (see previous post about gorgeous garden visit).

These little beauties enjoy the dappled shade of the pear tree


while these soak up the sunshine


and their neighbours are an amazingly intense white.


It's too hot for me outside during the day (unless sitting in the shady corner) so I'm inside, dreaming of how to transform the now sad, bleak hen pen and house.  I'm determined to make it beautiful once more.



I've cleaned out the bedding since this pic, and need to go and buy the paint to cheer it all up.

I've also been putting together a Pinterest board 'Kitchen Dreaming' so you'll be able to follow my thoughts and plans for this, once I discover how to post Pinterest here.

Just posted this over with Julia at http://stamping-ground.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/whats-on-your-workdesk-wednesday-214.html so hope to catch up with some of you over there.

Hoping you're enjoying the summer sunshine, lots of love for now, Chris xx

Yay!! Managed to suss out how to put Pinterest on here! You can now follow my daydreaming by clicking on the button in the side bar - if you've nothing better to do, that is!

Saturday, 6 July 2013

A Mixed Week

Last Thursday, I went down the garden to feed the hens and got the saddest shock ever.  There was a hole in the chicken wire, no girls but just a few feathers. The fox family living nearby had taken all four. The only consolation is that they took them all, and didn't just leave the bodies, as I've heard of them doing elsewhere. It just seems so tragic that such innocent, inoffensive creatures should come to a violent end.

Several people have asked if I'll get more, but I can't bear the thought of it happening again. Instead, I'm turning the pen into a fruit cage, and the hen house into a potting shed. Later this week I'll bring myself to clean it out for the last time, and dismantle the nest box and perches. Then I'll paint the outside (maybe soft green or lavender) and move it to the side of the pen, to maximise the space.

I'll give pride of place, inside the shed, to this carving that my brother made for me a couple of years ago. I'll paint the inside white, put some staging from the greenhouse inside to work at, and hang pretty curtains to hang at the window.  I've been reading up on painting plastic garden chairs, and will have a go with four which are knocking around the garden, and make some cushions for them, too.  With a couple of hanging baskets suspended outside, this area at the bottom of the garden will become a little oasis from life, for me.  I fancy getting some chicken statues to dot around, too, although DH reckons I'm going over the top there!!


On a lighter note, I had a fab outing this week.  A neighbour/friend belongs to U3A (University of the Third Age) which offers talks, etc., for retired people. The range of groups/meetings is huge, and I'm going to sign up for some stuff starting in September (I'll start by trying a reading group, and the garden visiting one, and take it from there).  Norma goes to poetry and play reading groups, too.

Anyway, back to the outing.  I joined them for a visit to a local garden.  I love going to National Trust places, but it's so inspiring to see what people have done with their own domestic space, too.  This one was just around the corner from our home, and was delightful.  It's about 120' long by 30' wide, so not huge, but crammed with plants and character.  The couple living there have worked it together since 1995, when their children had grown and no longer needed play space.

Fancy a tour? I hope it inspires you as much as it did me.  I started taking pics on the patio outside the house, then went down the left side and back up the right.  I hope you can follow it, and it makes sense.

The first is up against the house, showing part of their huge collection of succulents. I've come away wanting to introduce them into my garden - watch this space!)



On the opposite side of the patio - yet more succulents!  I love the way they've used all sorts of pots, and I'm determined to use the ones I've got hanging around.


For this one, I just stepped back, to show across the garden - the swing seat is fab, in the shade under the wisteria and two huge hanging baskets.


This water feature can be seen in the foreground of the above pic, and has a little light in the hole at the top - just right to enjoy with a glass of wine, on the swing when the sun goes down!


This old stone sink 'thing' is ideal for the succulents, and I love the use of the shells.  Must dig mine out!


Carrying on around the corner, you come to a hot bed.  It's mostly green (cannas and other lush foliage) sprinkled with zing-y splashes of vibrant orange. I must copy their use of varied leaf size, shape and texture.





This shot shows it full on, from across the garden.




Notice how the fences are all completely covered, giving the impression that neighbours are miles away, rather than up close and personal.

Further up, in the shade of trees overhead, you come to a big area, on right and left of the path, full of hostas and ferns, which make a fantastic contrasting combination.  They must sit up all night, watching out for slugs and snails - there was hardly a nibble showing!!



Past a clump of exotic bamboo


you get to the beautiful trees giving the hosta/fern shelter - look at that amazing bark!


I love the use of different paving materials - adding interest as well as saving money.


This is so sweet - the spade and cap which had belonged to the man's father - it stays as a memory to the man who gave them £3000 to kick start work on the garden, back in 1995 - a lovely tribute.



At the top of the garden you arrive at this sweet little summer house - bring on the Pimms!


Just outside the summer house, the tinkling sound of water again, to cool and refresh.


What a great idea, at the very top of the garden - a mirror obscured by this old gate, with the legend 'Enigma' - truly inspired.


A great use of ground cover.


Coming back down the right hand side of the garden, there are two miniature railways  The track for this smaller one, runs around a bed mainly of alpines and succulents, which complement the size of the trains, going around at waist height, so you can appreciate the beauty of the tiny plants and trains.



Here's the waist high bed/train set - see the brill 'Easter Island' head and hair-do?!


This is the larger set, which runs along the ground, between mainly hostas and ferns.


I'm not keen on buddhas, but I love the use of tiny pearl-like succulents in this flat dish, alongside the larger ones.


Another gorgeous example of bark


Even the bird feeder is a work of art -


Finally, this beautiful acer and clematis bring us back to where we started.



I hope you've enjoyed the tour as much as I did.  Thankfully I've come home inspired, rather than overwhelmed by the talent and hard work of this couple.

Love for now, Chris xx









Wednesday, 19 June 2013

WOYWW - where's it gone?

I'm not quite sure what's happened to last week. I certainly don't have an awful lot to show for it.

On the indoor crafty front, I've been doing some more stash-busting by crocheting some cotton dishcloths. I do love using these.


In the garden, the year is racing ahead too, with everything filling out, and big and bushy (including the weeds).


The cardoon at the front of this pic is threatening to take over the bed. I do love the enormous dark purple thistle-type flowers that pop up, but it's going to have to go to a new home at the end of this season, to make room for everything else. The solanum is starting to cover the trellis nicely, though.


I'm so glad there's more yellow and pink popping up now, to balance the purple everywhere.  Can anyone remind me of the name of this beauty below, please? It's such a vibrant orange/yellow - love it!! Just thought, looking at the leaves - is it a buddleia? I thought they were just shades of purple, with cone shaped flowers?


The pond area is filling out well, with more welcome colours. 


Indoors, I've been spending loads of time on Pinterest, and am finding it really helpful in collecting ideas for the downstairs shower & loo for Mum, storing bedroom wallpaper samples for her to look at, etc. I love it, but, at the same time, it's very time wasting consuming.

Hope your week is going well, and see you all over at WOYWW with Julia - http://stamping-ground.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/whats-on-your-workdesk-wednesday-211.html