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Sunday, 30 May 2010


Balance : a situation in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions according to my dictionary.

picture courtesy of Google images

I know I am not alone in thinking that perhaps the elements in my life just now are not in the correct proportions and that maybe the time spent at the computer is getting out of proportion so I have resolved to blog a little less, to comment a little less and to sit in front of the computer less often in future so as to leave more time for the other elements in my life.

This time of year the garden is calling to me and visitors are arriving on a more regular basis. I also need to find time to be creative in some way - whilst I am busy at my sewing or crafting I am at peace and when I finish whatever it is (IF I finish whatever it is!) I get a feeling of satisfaction which can never be achieved at the computer!

Blogging is great fun and I have made a lot of new friends and acquaintences via this incredible ability to be in touch with new people across the world but it is impossible to follow up all the links and to make friends with all the lovely people out there and one could easily go mad trying! So if you see me about in the blogosphere a little less often it isn't because I don't want to see you and to chat with you but simply becasue I must take time for other things too.

Enjoy your weekend - I'm off to prepare for guests arriving later.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

20 minute update

I have removed the 20 minute button from my blog since I have truly fallen by the wayside with this and my crafting has been somewhat neglected lately. Apologies to all those other 20 minuters who are so diligently sewing away and to Marmalade Rose whose wonderful idea it was.

I have however just made 2 more cushion covers using 2 more of the 4 blocks I made last year. One more to go and that will be another item off my list of unfinished stuff! They don't take long but procrastination is the thief of time as the saying goes and a year in the making is far too long!!

PS I did get the fourth one done! This one took me an absolute age to make and I remember coming away from the lesson after 4 hours with just one of the little cubes put together! It's all done by hand and is not something I would want to do much of I must say - speed being more my cup of tea! Cannot imagine ever in one lifetime being able to complete a bed quilt in this technique although I know there are those of you who can and do.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

The beautiful game!!

I hadn't intended posting again so soon but when I came across this little article I just had to share it with you. Those of you who liked the post about the sweaters for chickens here will love this.....

Obviously someone on their editorial team had a great sense of humour - I loved it and imagine when eating one's egg and soldiers knowing that hen that laid the egg had enjoyed a nice game of football!! The mind boggles at the thought of obstacle courses and musical entertainment doesn't it - I wonder if they also have egg and spoon races?!!

This was the scenery we passed today en route for the supermarket where I picked up the paper with the above article.

It's obviously not just Pembrokeshire which has cow parsley and red campion in the hedgerows either (there were a few bluebells too) This was in the car park in Bridport.

Isn't this so quintessentially English? This was on the way back to the car - as you can see we have had a fabulous summery day here hope you have all enjoyed some similar weather. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Welsh Wales

This time last week I was in Pembrokeshire where I was visiting an old friend. If you don't know this part of Wales I must tell you it is very beautiful. This was the scene as I reached the top of the Preselis, on Thursday afternoon, before dropping down to the village where my friend lives.

I was lucky with the weather and every day we had blue skies - although it was often dull and damp first thing in the morning the sunshine always appeared later. I met up with Lesley - Printed Material - who lives in the area and found her to be as lovely warm and welcoming as her blogs and comments would suggest - Thank you Lesley for the lovely lunch and for making me so welcome. The drive to Lesley's neck of the woods was beautiful with steep banks alongside the lanes sprinkled with bluebells, cow parsley and red campion the mix of pink, blue and white with the soft green of the grass and foliage was wonderful and I wished I could paint. Sadly I coundn't even take a photo as I was driving!

One evening we went to the beach for a walk before supper and these are some of the photos I took ...

This is my kind of beach - no candy floss and kiss me quick hats here!

Isn't it beautiful?

I love these little pink flowers I think they are called thrift.

On Saturday we went to a National Trust property near Caenarvon called Dinefwr. Bit grey and gothic looking isn't it but inside it was lovely and we were encouraged to touch things and try out life below stairs by cleaning some shoes etc. Since my childhood was spent mainly below stairs although not in quite such a mansion I was interested to see the kitchen which was my mother's domain but that apparently is in another building and the National Trust doesn't own that or not yet!

There was a derelict castle in the grounds and from the top of that we had 360 degree panoramic views of the surrounding countryside - stunning.

The parkland was green and lush...

and the bluebell woods so beautiful with that amazing colour and the perfume wafting on the breeze.

I was in heaven!

This fallen tree called out to me to use it as a sort of source of inspiration in some way ... any ideas?

Aren't these tulips great? I loved their blowsy bright colours don't you?

Hope you all have a lovely weekend - those of us in the UK are in for some more warm sunshine I gather - let's make the most of it!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Day out

Last Tuesday I had a day out - can you guess from these photos where I went?

There were bluebells and tall trees, grass and birdsong....

Would you believe me if I told you that these photos were taken opposite this building?

The Albert Hall in London?

Just round the corner a few minutes walk away was this building where I was headed - the Victoria and Albert Museum. This is a photo of the inner square.

I had my lunch here - not your average coffee shop is it? I had a sandwich here after seeing the Quilts exhibition - sadly no photography allowed but it was an interesting exhibition with a good mix of antique quilts and modern art too.

The shop was interesting too although I only bought a couple of postcards of the quilts but being a bit of a "bag lady" I had to take a photo of this lovely recycled bag although the price wasn't recycled so I didn't buy it at £150! But I love the idea of using all sorts of different fabrics in this way.
I have been away since then spending a few days with a friend in Wales - will show you some photos of that next time. Sorry I haven't been visiting your blogs these past days but I will try and catch up with them all soon.

Sunday, 9 May 2010


After I had published my last post I wondered if I might have been able to add a link for the library at Limoges since it really was an amazing place and when I checked the internet for pictures or information I came upon this little video showing snippets of Limoges and including the library. It immediately took me back to our Saturdays during the time we lived in France when we nearly always went to Limoges for our weekend shopping and I decided to make another post rather than to try and add it to the one I had already posted.

Limoges is a lovely city but it does take time to give up its secrets and the first couple of times I went there I wasn't impressed but I grew to love it and if money were no object I'd have an apartment there so I could visit whenever I wanted to and go to the places and meet the people I knew.

The video shows the airport - little more than a shed with a few plastic chairs inside when we first arrived but now a brand new multi-million pound building, the station with its iconic green topped clock tower, the library which is very modern and mostly glass, (notice the trolley bus reflected in the glass). The amazing Hotel de Ville with its typically French architecture and the fountain in the gardens in front which incorporates the enamel and porcelain for which Limoges is renowned. Then the cathedral and the river Vienne. The gardens next to the cathedral which overlook the Vienne and one of the old bridges which link the two sides of the river. The market hall where we did much of our shopping made of brick and the square in which it stands with the buildings painted with trompe d'oeil.(Poitiers is another town with lots of buildings painted like this) The spacecraft building is the new Zenith built during our time there and where all sorts of theatre, sport, music etc are staged. We went to see Riverdance there and it was an excellent venue apart from the fact that since it is also used for sport the seats were made of wood and we all said next time we'd take cushions!. The museum of porcelain along with some of the famous porcelain and some enamel being made followed by the Opera which has many world class concerts and ballet etc and again the river.

I would love to be able to show the city to you in reality as it was one of those places that each time you visited you discovered something else of interest.

Reading material

One of the things I really missed when we lived in France was the library. True enough we joined the library in Limoges which is apparently the largest library in France outside of Paris and which was an amazing place with thousands of books, CDs, DVDs, a glassed over area with trees and plants and benches, where you could sit and read as if you were in a park, along with dozens of screens for watching DVDs and so on but of course all but a very few of the books were in French (naturally!). I did take out some of the sort of books I show below and I could at least look at the pictures but reading was always going to be difficult and longwinded for me.
Now I am back in UK I make good use of the library and also request books (it costs just 65p each) which are not available at my local branch and these are some of what I am reading at the moment. I said recently that my craft work seems to take its own route and I just follow and I seem to have become interested in journals - perhaps since Jill at Third Age Musings suggest joining her in making a journal back here.

I didn't join Jill - I never seemed to have the right paper, gesso (whatever that was - now I know) and so on but it got me interested.

Then along came Lesley at Printed Material making books and recycling old papers into such lovely little notebooks here that I wanted to do it too but again I wasn't sure how.

I also enjoy anything to do with Textiles so the idea of mixed media and of incorporating book making and journaling with my textiles seemed a good idea.

I know I should be able to link these books to Amazon or to The Book Depository (which I used a lot when in France since they will post anywhere in the world free of charge) but I am sorry I don't know how to do that.

I love this one and its clever fastening don't you?

This one has lovely quotes sprinked throughout as well and ideas for making notebooks of all things natural such as we used to collect and put on the nature table at school - do they still do that I wonder?

Again it incorporates threads and textiles so appealed to me.

This one seemed like a good idea - making little sample sized pieces but on reflection I think it is too intricate for me and I do better with a larger canvas as it were. Probably because of my rather slapdash attitude!

Though the illustrations do make my mouth water and there is no reason why I shouldn't make a few 2 inchies or even 6 inchies using the techniques is there?! These blue colours call out to me - I love them.

This one turned out to be more embroidery but it's not embroidery as I knew it all crinoline ladies and flowers on tablecoths at all but really wonderful pieces in vivid colours which I love.

Thank you all so very much for your birthday wishes and kind comments on my last post - my birthday was most enjoyable and I am speeding towards the next one now! Each and every comment was and is much appreciated and I thank you all for visiting me and letting me know you've been and enjoyed your visit. Pity I couldn't do tea and cakes for you isn't it?!!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Birthday girl!

Birthdays seem to come round all to swiftly these days and are occasions more for commiserations than congratulations nowadays! What they do do though is to make one stop and reflect and this is what I have been doing - did I reach my potential (whatever that was!) Have I achieved what I set out to do (not really since I never knew what I wanted to do anyway) Could I have done better, should I have done more etc. I remember our junior school motto was I am, I can, I ought, I will - not sure I have lived up to it though!

Me aged about 3

When I retired some years ago I suddenly realised that I had never decided what I wanted to be when I grew up and now it was too late! I am not sure I have been successful - whatever one means by that - nor have I achieved anything of note. I made a bit of a pig's ear of parenting, have not travelled the world nor wanted to, have never taken office as President of the WI or anything like that and when my "willow coffin" day comes I fear the eulogy will be very brief!

Me aged about 6

However there are plenty of plusses - I am still here and that can't be a bad thing since I have lost several friends in recent years, one younger than me - I live in a beautiful area, still with the same husband I started out with all those years ago (though some days that might be debatable as a plus and I am sure he might say the same!) I have everything I need even if not all I want, I no longer have to get up early if I don't want to nor struggle to work through the rush hour traffic, I can go on the bus for nothing with my bus pass, I can be as eccentric as I wish and nobody notices or cares except me, I have many clear memories of my childhood even if I have to think to decide what day it is or what I did yesterday! Yes although I could say "Regrets I have a few but then again too few to mention" (apologies Lesley!) life has been good on the whole and today is the start of the rest of my life and I mean to make the most of it whilst I still can!

I have received lots of cards and good wishes and amongst the gifts was a book of sayings to do with getting older (the friend who sent it is a little older than me so can get away with it!) and my favourite page is this one.

I will certainly take heed of it and the one below made me laugh - I hope I shan't take to napping in the car!

Oh and one major plus is that I have discovered blogging and found a whole new world full of friends out there - thank you all so much for visiting my blog and for your lovely comments - I love reading them and value each and every one.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Bank Holiday weekend!

Hope you all had a good weekend whatever the weather. We were lucky here and had some sunshine in between the showers. Didn't go anywhere special but did manage to get some gardening done.
Husband began digging a hole on Friday to plant the apple tree we bought last week - naturally we had chosen the spot where the builders had burried all the brick rubble and dust! My husband doesn't know the meaning of the phrase "to give up" and kept digging (I began to wonder whether one of the willow coffins might be needed either for me because he would get fed up with me nagging him to give in and try somewhere else or because he'd kill himself digging and need on himself!) Anyway we have now got a little apple tree planted and not a lot to show for the hours of effort that went into its planting now that the rubble has gone to the tip!

Meanwhile I worked on clearing up the spot beside the shed shown here and clearing the bank and setting some stones in and some pebbles (left over from our veggie plot clearance) It looks much neater now don't you think even if I am paying the price for lifting the heavy stones about today!

Husband being quite handy with his DIY has made a cold frame for the plants which were hitherto cluttering up the conservatory and in danger of being baked to death when we went out and locked the doors and windows! We got the windows for the top from a reclamation yard £8 foir the pair and the timber was already to hand - sometimes being a hoarder is useful! The dark stain was what was left form having painted the fence and the inside is done with some pale green timber stuff I had chosen for the fence and then not liked. It all looks quite Homes and Gardens inside now and I am wondering if I should hang a couple of pictures or maybe some of my handicrafts from the back of the cupboard! What do you think they'd like?!

Giveaway win!

This package arrived from Greece from Viota and contained the giveaway which I had won - I had only put my name down as Viota had offered to organise a swap but then changed her mind and made it a giveaway- you may remember I said I wouldn't enter any more giveaways as my luck was too good and it seemed only fair that someone else got a chance! Sadly that luck doesn't seem to extend to lottery wins or anything like that!

The contents, all prettily wrapped in gift paper, were as shown here - some lovely flowered pillowslips, a flowered guest towel, some pretty stationery and a couple of cheerful yellow flower clips.

How pretty the pillowslips look on the guest bed and they match the silk roses I have in a little vase on the side table don't they? Thank you so very much Viota and a letter of thanks is on its way to you now.

If anyone is interested in another giveaway pop over to Winnibrigshouse for a giveaway here. I am not entering this one so you do stand a chance!!