Sunday, 27 January 2013

Winter in the Shire ...

Following on from last weeks post (here), predictions were right and much more snow has descended down upon our Shire. The arrival of said snow has put a stop to my departure out of our village for almost a week ~ grrr. 

A snow covered Shire

Snow can wait I forgot my mittens
Wipe my nose get my new boots on
I get a little warm in my heart when I think of winter
I put my hands in my father's glove
I run off where the drifts get deeper

The most Fabulicious Tori Amos, Winter

These are lyrics taken from one of my most favourite Tori Amos songs (which is currently my ring tone.)

And then the snow turned to ice ...

Image take from
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Being bored took on a whole new level this week. In order to combat going slightly bonkers I have whiled away hours drawing and doodling ...

seeing if I can still knit (after asking my Mum to cast me on) ...

and reading a tonne of books.

As much as our County looks as pretty as a picture in the snow and much fun has been had by my children I am now pining for tarmac and normality.

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This recent cold snap has seen us yearn for the warmer weather to arrive. Oh how I long to open the doors on a sunny spring day and watch the children and dogs enjoy having fun in the garden while
 my husband and I look on with a cold beverage in hand. Space! After being in hibernation for what feels like an eternity we're craving it.
These yearnings have spurred us on to book our very first holiday in Hermie our Caravan. He is currently sitting under several inches of snow but looking ahead, Spring is hopefully not too far on the horizon so we have chosen the month of April and the County of Dorset for our very first adventure. Yay!
and exploring we shall go.
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 This fantastic photo below has been sourced from Fragglehound's photostream on Flickr, found here. It is of a fruit that has been placed in a homemade lightbox ~ what an amazing effect. I think this pic would be fantastic to paint or draw too.

There are instructions on how this effect was achieved along with over 500 photos taken of life and surroundings.
Other pics include ...

To me this photo looks like a Giant marching up a hill, off to get his groceries, carrying his shopping bag (or is it just me going slightly bonkers from being snowed in for far too long)!!

Anyways, save Fragglehound into your fav's and enjoy following their interesting journey documented in photos x

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Last week I mentioned we are planning to repaint our Living Room (here)and this week sees us still confused over what colour to chose. My husband would like an accent wall painted in a dark green, his strategy is to play it safe as the accent wall is already painted green! I want a change, if we are going to the expense and work of painting the room from top to bottom I want to be able to stand back at the end and admire new beginnings, not think "hum, it's no different ~ grrr".
We are at stalemate, in my husbands corner is dark green and in mine is plum. While we both champion our fav colours a decision is looking far from likely. In the interest of moving on and because I am fed up with looking at a spectrum of colours dotted all over our living room wall, I have suggested Little Greene French Grey.
Deep down I have a horrible feeling I'm just plucking a 'safe' colour from thin air in order to see this task through.
Gorden Bennett, this is why I dread repainting. May be there is something in my husbands suggestion to paint the same as already have? Oh, help!
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This weekend sees the RSPB annual Big Garden Birdwatch. They are asking for people to note down the highest number of each bird species seen in their garden or local park at any time. Results are then submitted to the RSPB and an annual list will be complied giving an important insight into bird populations throughout the UK. The survey first started in 1979, fast forward to 2012 and 600,000 took part with the House Sparrows being the most seen bird. Between 1979-2012, with the help from the public, the RSPB has been very successful establishing the decline of certain birds in parts of the UK meaning they have been able to put matters right.
My son and I are hoping to lure many feathered friends into our garden with this feast. Our bets are on Blackbirds being the most popular, I wonder what frequents your garden the most?
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This weeks fav photo has to be ...

I edited the original photo to give it a gritty look for my daughter to put on her Tumblr blog but when it got positive comments I took another look and realised it's actually got an interesting feel to it and is quite unique. I'm usually drawn to pretty images so this subject is not my natural choice but sometimes it's good to explore outside of our comfort zone. x
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Until next Sunday, bye y'all X

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Brass monkeys ...

This week saw the arrival of a cold snap, a really cold snap. 
With each passing day the temperature has turned progressively colder. Wednesday saw our surrounding countryside look like this...

Very frosty, very pretty but very cold.

By Friday it looked like this ...

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.
If the weather forecast is to be believed, I'm not sure we've seen the last of the white stuff yet?

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Snow Flakes

Out of the bosom of the Air,
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow.
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
1807–1882 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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We're starting to plan the re-decoration of our living room.
 Oh help ... this fills me with dread! 
We've ruled out wallpaper and are going down the paint route. Choosing paint colours is one of my least favourite tasks ~ like ever. The whole process leaves me confused. We currently have an array of different tester colours all over our wall, ranging from deep plum and grey to light green, pink and cream. Sadly, all are not right leaving me more confused and despondent than ever.
I would love nothing more than the paint fairies to come visit, have a fab suggestion and skip off leaving me happy. If you see those lil fairy scamps please send them my way!!!

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This weeks cheeky buys ...

The cheapest find this week was this lovely 1960's child's mug. It's soooo cute and (if I can bear to part with it) I'm intending to fill it with Easter goodies then give to the Easter Bunny ready to pass on to a special lil family member.
Still a bargain, but sadly not as cheap as 50p, these two lovely black and white etchings of Oxford were an auction purchase.

They had been listed several months ago and back then it was love at first sight. I intended to bid on them but sadly, when bidding started at £30.00 and ended in the £60.00's plus commission my paddle was a non-starter. 
Imagine how happy I was to see them back again. I had that "back off y'all, they're mine" stance when their lot number came up and I bid with an scowl. Scowls are obviously the way forward as I was the highest bidder ~ yay. My cut off point was £30.00 and I got them for £23.60 inc commission. January sale rooms are highly recommended, my friend got a mahogany Edwardian chair for £5.00 and a walnut 1960's sewing box complete with red satin lid liner and full to the brim of beautiful vintage contents for £20.00 ~ total and utter bargains. My lovely pictures have been drawn by someone called M Verdier and one has been named and signed in pencil by the artist. I'm not sure who he is or if my pictures are worth more the £23.60 but quite frankly I don't care ~ these are keepers.
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My favourite photo from this week is ...

I reason I love it so much?
It's because its so soft and pretty with a retro feel. 
It evokes memories of the photos my lovely Gramp used to take back in the 70's

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Until next Sunday, bye y'all xx

Sunday, 13 January 2013

This weeks offerings ...

Well the second week of January sees me still eating an array of left over festive food. As I type I'm munching on Christmas pudding with a dollop of vanilla yogurt on top, both have their expiring dates imminent. We all intermittently disappear off into the kitchen, rummage around for a snack and return with some bizarre, random concoction of food that only seems to enter our home in December. So far today my family have combined salmon terrine with the biscuits left over from 'cheese and biscuits' and a stuffing and mint sauce sandwich all in the name of snacking. I'm almost craving bland, normal, boring everyday sensible food, man I must have OD'd on luxury festive food!!
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Do you have an item that you really, really, really want but know it's a lot of money for what it is?
My really, really, really want item for at least 6 months has been a book called Perfect English Farmhouse by Ros Byam Shaw. It has gone from being on my birthday wish list to my Christmas wish list and then on to my 'must sell stuff to buy' list. The reason this lovely book is still not in my life is because its £30.00, that's a lot of money for a book (especially as I don't even own a Perfect English Farmhouse and have more like a 1960's English Bungalow). After selling an array of stuff (I know, sob) I now have my really, really, really want item and I'm oh so happy. Now I can actually turn the pages and hold the book instead of squinting to see a handful of pages on the 'look inside' part of Amazon. Here are just a few of my fav pages ...

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Lego, it's something I accidentally stand on then hop around in excruciating pain whilst reminding myself I'm in a no swear zone or hoover up then rummage through the hoover bag trying to fish it back out again, find under the furniture and prize out of our puppies mouth.  I never thought of it in this way ...

Designer shoes and handbags ... now that is my kinda Lego!! ;)
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This week has seen me join a caravan forum ~ yep you did read that right a caravan forum. (I know, I know ~ I can hardly believe it myself. Bye bye life, hello anorak's and jumpers with caravans on). I have to say, fellow caravanners are a really great bunch. They have been so helpful in offering help, advice and great tips to get us ready for our maiden voyage. I feel like I've joined a community and us and Hermie are now one of the gang. My new friends have even suggested taking Hermie to a caravan rally ... hum now there's an idea, may be that's where I can find me a lovely caravan stylie jumper!! 

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Being the tight thing I am, recently I've been amazed at the price of wrapping paper. It's a hard thing to strike a compromise with as it dresses a present and makes the art of giving and receiving that little bit more glamorous but ... once received it's ripped into pieces and thrown in the recycling bin. For a while now I've been racking my brains as to what I can use that doesn't cost the earth. I've tried making my own using A3 sheets of white paper and using a marbling effect with paint, brown paper and spraying with glitter or using ink stamps to create interest but these are VERY messy options. I think I may have struck upon a answer ...


I bought a roll of pretty paper in the Laura Ashley sale for £4.00 which will last me years, literally.  I chose a neutral cream so I can use different colour ribbon for a change and as and when I come across pretty bits they will always match.
I thought it would be too thick for sellotape to work but its actually fine.
Fingers crossed the recipients are as pleased as I am with my new wall wrapping paper.

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Until next Sunday, Bye y'all X

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Well hello there 2013 ...

* !! * ^ * !! ^ * !! 2013 * !! * ^ * !! * ^ * !!
Yay, a spangly new year is upon us.
A full set of 365 brand new days laid out in front of us to enjoy (plus a new quota of Bank Holidays ~ yippee).
I know for some January is their lest favourite month of the year, describing it as dull, drab and un-exciting. For me January is a chance to start afresh, to reflect on the previous year and progress ever onwards and upwards with a clean slate and new aspirations.  It's exciting being able to make plans and dreams for the new seasons and adventures waiting to unfold.
We saw the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 in with a retro vibe. All things kitsch was on our menu and we raised a toast with a Snowball in hand ...

Very tacky chic!

2013 in the Chinese calender is 
Year of the Snake
which will begin on February 4th. I'll be off down my local Chinese take-a-way for a curry and an all important free snaketastic calender ;)

New year also brings a whole new set of good intentions/resolutions. I got bored of the "lose weight" one years ago. By the end of the first week I'd eaten 'forebidden' food, regretted it, felt a failure and dashed up the Co-Op to buy tonnes of comfort food to cheer me up!! This years good intention/resolution is to be more sociable. We have so many lovely friends and people in our life but we only ever seam to bump into them either in Sainsbury's, in the local Co-Op or to give a passing wave to as our cars wizz on by.
 It's just not good enough and we will fling open our door to being more sociable this year ~ let the good times roll
(and the Snowballs are on us ~ whoop)!!!

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We bought a new chair this week and I'm sooooo excited about it that sorry y'all your just gonna have to hear all about it.
This perfect sitting implement wooed me as I innocently walked past. It called out to me saying in a Barry White stylie "well hello there Louise, wouldn't you like to snuggle up with me, park your bottom on my ample cushions, drink tea and read magazines while I cocoon you in crushed velvet, come on, come inside out of the rain and take a closer look. I'm on the extra large side you know". That was it, I was mesmerised and before I knew it I was saying "hold on a mo, lets just pop in here quick". An hour later we emerged, my husband wishing he'd left me at home and complaining and muttering about our bank balance.
After a lot of Ooh and Aah's and sitting down, getting up and sitting back down again many times over my husband agreed that, yes it is a lovely chair and joy of all joys ~ the man from Del Monte, he say yes and we bought one.

I've chosen Plum crushed velvet fabric, it doesn't go with any of our existing furnishings but as nothing about this purchase has been based on sanity I thought I may as well go with my fav colour!!!

Also, we have overlooked the fact that this chair should probably be described as a 'cha'fa'. It's enormous! The size is in between a chair and a small sofa and is aptly named Burlington Snuggler. I'm not too sure how on earth it's going to be squeezed into our living room ~ still that's a minor detail, blah ;)

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It was this time last year that my husband and I decided to spend what ever money we could muster during the year on home improvements. First on the list was a new front door followed by a new back door. Two weeks in to 2012 our Bertie Boy Greyhound dog was hit by a vehicle and left for dead. It took 11 months and just short of £6,000 to make him better (nope, sadly he wasn't insured ~ grrrr). All dreams of doors (and everything in between) were shelved and we struggled hard to make ends meet and keep up Bert's daily treatment.  Man how I'm keeping it all crossed that 2013 will be 'doortastic' for us. (Although the impromptu purchase of a chair the first week of the new year has set this plan back once again.) However, whilst sat in my new chair my attentions can turn to styles, colours and how on earth I'm going to incorporate the Edwardian stained glass window I picked up at an auction (yep, another one of my random purchases that my long suffering husband didn't feel my enthusiasm for and asked "what are we going to do with that?" to which, as usual I had no real reply other than the good ol "one day I'll have a good use for it")~ until that time it's one more thing that lives in/clutters up my husbands garage.
Anyway back to doors *dreamy sigh*, paint colours? Shall we go classic black, quirky aubergine, muted duck egg tones or timeless cream ~ ahhhhh decisions! That's before my brain moves on to a door knocker or door bell, handle or knob, chrome, brass or black letter box, etc.
I know it's only a door but it's the threshold into our home and a barrier to keep tea leaves out so it needs proper consideration.
Blimey, thank goodness I've got a long while to ponder on such decisions!!!
Any help or advice you can impart would be gratefully received. X
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Our Christmas decorations have now been taken down and packed away but I'm having to ween myself off glitter, glitz and sparkle. My mini weeny disco balls have been moved into the kitchen and now beautify our shelves fulfilling my sparkle fix.

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With the passing of all Christmas festivities and the return to reality and routine (ie setting my alarm for 5.45am and leaving for work at 6.30am ~ yawn) I'm feeling a bit dazed and confused at the mo, all 'up in the air' and not really grounded. I think the main reason is the mild and wet weather has confused me and I have to remind myself that we are in one of the coldest and darkest months of winter. The two previous Winters we've seen snow by now and have had gloves, hats and scarfs on radiators and cold children sat in front of the fire thawing out. In contrast, I've been walking the dogs with no coat on it's so mild.
I feel I need a reminder of where we are in the seasons, something that evokes 'Winter' and grounds me back to the here and now. Bring on the Holly ...

Whilst walking the dogs I took some clippings of the hedgerow and gave them a quick spray of gold and glitter.

Each time I glance at the Holly it does it's job and evokes that winter feeling and brings me right back to the here and now.

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Until next Sunday, bye y'all X