Monday, 13 April 2015

Remembering my Granny on her 95th Birthday

Today would have been my Granny's 95th Birthday.

She passed away three months ago on 30th December 2014.

My Granny always liked a 'bit of a fuss' on her birthday. It was a bit of family joke, we'd tease her about it, thinking that excitement surrounding birthdays is only for children. But in fact, she was right to hold onto that excitement, if you can't make someone feel a bit special on their birthday, then there's something wrong!

So on her 95th Birthday, I'm missing making a 'bit of a fuss' of her. I feel quite taken aback at how upset I feel today. I think when someone old dies you're not 'allowed' to be sad. You talk about what a long life they had and the gratitude for all the things they were able to experience. I completely get that & it's one of the best ways to cope with the death of an elderly relative. When someone young dies, it is tragic & the thoughts of what might've been are almost impossible to bear.

But when someone elderly dies, you lose a person who has been a part of your life for so long, you don't quite know how to react.

My Granny was alive for a long time, she saw her children become pensioners, her grandchildren reach their late 30s and her eldest Grandchild is going to university next year. She was a Mother, a sibling, a Grandmother, a friend and all those connections are so important in a life. She was engrained in our lives, that we can't help missing her, even if we do understand how lucky we were to have her for so long.

My Granny was intricately involved with the whole family, she wanted to know everyone's news and all the latest developments. She was part of the landscape of our lives, and when she died, a big part of our family fabric became unstitched. It isn't something you can mend, you just have to learn to live with it.

Grief is a funny thing, you think you're ok & then it hits you. It comes along when you're happy, sometimes when the sun is shining, often at family occasions when you notice the empty seat, usually at milestones in your life...when you want to tell that person all the latest news.

So, on my Granny's 95th birthday, I say "Penblwydd hapus" to her and I'll let myself feel sad, but also happy at all the shared experiences we had.

The picture you can see at the top of this post is a block made in memory of Muriel, my Granny. It is bought in aid of the Buy a Block Fundraiser and it will form part of a new floor when our local museum is refurbished. The blocks are placed in a temporary display where members of the public can see them before they are laid in their final location.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Tobogganing at the Mendip Snowsport Centre in Somerset

I spotted on Facebook that a friend had taken her daughter to the Mendip Snowsport Centre to try out the tobogganing slope. It looked like great fun so I promptly went online and booked a session for Magoo. It was only £4 for an hour of tobogganing, which is a real bargain. A perfect way to have some fun in the Easter school holidays.

I wondered if Magoo would be scared when she saw the dry ski slope, but she couldn't wait to get started. The children are given a safety talk first & then they were off! At first the children slid down & then ran back up with their toboggans, but after only ten minutes you could see the children flagging. It wasn't long before parents were roped it to do the lion's share of the toboggan-carrying...

It really is a wonderful way to tire your children out. Lots of exercise & excitement on a beautiful sunny April day. The staff were lovely at the Snowsport Centre, so we'll definitely be visiting again.

We took Magoo to see the main dry ski slope where she saw the adults skiing. She promptly said that she wanted to go on there 'next time'. Getting hooked on skiing is an expensive hobby...so maybe we'll just stick to the tobogganing for now.

This week I'm linking up with #countrykids over on www.coombemill.com

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Fun making upcycled Easter hats at the Children's Scrapstore

I'm a huge fan of the Children's Scrapstore. I wrote a feature about them for UK Handmade back in the Summer of 2013. I love the ethos of taking varied scrap materials collected from local businesses and using it for creative play.

We often visit the Scrapstore on a Saturday morning & love spending time rummaging through the scrap. Children are encourage to create something on a particular theme, like robots or sea creatures. Last Saturday it was Easter hats.

There's so much to love about the Scrapstore, lots of large tubs filled with brightly couloured fabrics, stickers, card and foam. Magoo can never resist throwing herself on the neon netting in glee, it's a visual feast for any child's eyes.

Once we'd had a look round, Magoo got to work with cardboard, pens, glue & shiny paper. She made a natty rabbit-hat with decorated ears, a foam nose & googly eyes.

I also had a go at making a rabbit-hat. I used cardboard, foam and strips of the neon netting Magoo loves so much.

Only thing was, I got my measurements a bit wrong & it's too small for my head. It's even too small for Magoo's head. So teddy had to model it!

I'm linking up with Let Kids be Kids, #ordinarymoments over on www.mummydaddyandmemakesthree.co.uk, My Best Post of the Week #MBPW over on www.britmums.com

Friday, 3 April 2015

Spring Sale: 25% off selected vintage trims

I'm having a Spring Sale and offering 25% discount on a selection of the vintage trims. Head on over to my online shop to see the full range of vintage trims. They are perfect for adding a vintage twist to your next crafting project. Great for appliqué, sewing, collage, mixed-media artwork, scrap booking and much, much more...

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Capture by Lucy's Springtime Surprise Project

Back in January whilst I was pootling about on Twitter, I spotted the hashtag #springtimesurpriseproject. Curious, I searched for that particular tag & found out Lucy from the wonderful Capture by Lucy had created a little project to spread some cheer this Spring.

As Lucy explains on her site:

"The Springtime Surprise Project is about doing something nice, just because. Something kind, thoughtful and all for a stranger. It's about celebrating all that is good about the connections we make on the internet."

I thought it sounded like a great idea, so I registered my details on the Surprise Project website & waited to hear about my Surprise Partner. Lucy tinkered with the matching & organising and after a few weeks I received an email containing my partners address & her gift preferences. It was quite spooky because my Springtime Surprise Partner lived a few hundred yards away from a place we used to live about a decade ago.

I received my Surprise Gift in March. The project had been in the back of my mind, but it was still a surprise when the parcel dropped through the letterbox because I had no idea exactly when it would appear. It was so lovely to receive a parcel with four carefully wrapped packets with a hand written card explaining in detail why each gift had been chosen.

The gifts pretty much ticked all the boxes for me, handmade, vintage & bright colours. What more could I ask for?

I hope Lucy decides to run this project again because it certainly creates a connection between people & hopefully brings a smile to someone's face.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Revamping a dresser with chalk paint and my collection of vintage ceramics

Back in May of last year I blogged about the bargain dresser we bought on ebay & my discovery of chalk paint. Giving the dresser a new lease of life was a real family affair with Magoo getting stuck in with this transformation project. Annie Sloan chalk paint is completely non-toxic, so I have no problems with letting my daughter lend a hand with a paintbrush. I wanted to share the finished project with you. My collection of vintage ceramics finally has a new home & I love the results.

The pieces featured in this collection are from Hornsea, Meakin and Taunton Vale. All of them have been thrifted by me over the years. I've always wanted a proper place to display them & I think this dresser fits the bill perfectly. By using chalk paint, we revamped a dresser made from dark, dull wood into something light & airy...and all for less than £100.

I'm linking up with the Vintage Inspiration Party over on knickoftime.net

I'm also linking up with Vintage Bliss Tuesdays on www.womaninreallife.com

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Discovering Steart Marsh wetland nature reserve

I was born and raised in Weston-super-Mare in Somerset. We visited many parts of the local area when we were growing up & yet I have never been to the section of North Somerset coastline where Steart Marshes is located. I know the coast pretty well up to Burnham-on-Sea and we travelled to the Quantocks and Exmoor on many occasions. But the section between Burnham and Watchet? I haven't much of a clue about it. I have heard my Mum talk about Steart Marsh a few times, in fact she painted an acrylic landscape of the area & it hangs above our mantlepiece.

We decided to visit Steart Marshes to satisfy our curiosity. I knew there was an important wetlands area there & Magoo loves peering through the binoculars to see if she can spot things, so off we went.

On the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust's website it says:

"The Steart peninsula juts into the Severn Estuary at the point where it is joined by the River Parrett. This position in the landscape makes it both enticing for migrating birds and puts it at the mercy of one of the biggest tidal forces in the world.

The Environment Agency spotted an opportunity to manage coastal change to protect Steart Village and create a huge new area of intertidal habitat. They presented the options to the communities in and around Steart and asked what they would like to happen. The local community came out in support of managing the change and taking the opportunity to create habitat.

The Environment Agency chose the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) to manage the site. The two organisations, in close collaboration with the residents of Steart Village and the local community, have now set about creating vast new areas of wetland nature reserve from the land."

Having never visited the area...it feels like some sort of hinterland in my mind, until today. And I have to say, I am a complete convert to this stretch of the coast. It is beautiful. In fact it seems to be a well-kept secret as we had the place virtually to ourselves. The WWT and Environment Agency have clearly invested in the area. There are brand new hides dotted around the wetlands, lots of information on birds you may see, a pristine toilet block located in one of the car parks, wide footpaths suitable for buggies, bikes and wheelchairs and stunning views almost everywhere you look. Perhaps I shouldn't even be telling anyone about it? Well, I'll let you in on a secret, it's an amazing place to visit. Just don't tell anyone...

I'm linking up with the lovely Country Kids over on the Coombe Mill blog

#ordinary moments on mummydaddyandmemakesthree.co.uk

Image of the Week over on www.trulymadlykids.co.uk

My Best Post of the Week #MBPW over on www.britmums.com

Sunday Stars over on minitravellers.co.uk

Point + Shoot over on youbabymemummy.com

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