Friday, 24 April 2015

spring, sunshine and seeds

The past couple of weeks have been glorious here in the UK. Sunshine nearly everyday, above average temperatures and loads of time to get out & about in the garden. Spring has to be one of the most magical times, everything is bursting back into life. I adore seeing the blossom arrive on the trees and planning the seeds I'm going to plant.

I've been planting out calendula, nasturtium and some other 'purple flower' I grew last year. The calendula came out of packet of mixed seeds last year & I fell in love with them. With regular dead-heading, they flowered all Summer long. I saved a heap of seeds from last year's plants & they've been drying in a cup all through the Winter.

Our apple tree was really unhappy last year. It didn't fruit at all & the leaves turned brown. I gave the tree a prune for the first time & so far, it looks much happier this year. It's starting to bud with blossom and the leaves look much better.

I also love nasturtium. I'm a big fan of easy plants that look after themselves and churn out heaps of flowers. I've planted a couple of seeds per fibre pot. The good thing about fibre pots is you can put them into the ground & not disturb the seedlings roots. I bought mine from Wilko, they are only 80 pence for 12 so definitely worth buying a few for your seedlings. I also go around pushing nasturtium seeds in here & there around the garden & wait to see what pops up later in the Summer.

The unidentified 'purple flower' has already started to sprout & I will need to pot them on soon. They also came out of the packet of mixed seeds last year & once again I saved lots of seedpods from the plants & dried them over the Winter.

I think possibly one of the best Spring-time treats is seeing the cherry blossom appear. It's so fleeting, gone after a few days, but it is utterly beautiful whilst it is around. We have two cherry trees, so I get to see plenty of my favourite blossom.

This week I'm linking up with 'How Does Your Garden Grow' #HDYGG over on www.mammasaurus.co.uk

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

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