Friday, 31 May 2013

may in flowers

'cowslip'  

The absolute star of the show for me during May has to be the Cowslip. One of the first wild flowers to emerge on the common this year, it has created a lovely burst of yellow flowers, which have stood up spritely to attention all month. Found in the meadows where cows graze, the name Cowslip, is said to derive from the old English word for cow dung!..... my Mum, who was brought up playing and roaming around on the common around Coventry in the Midlands used to tell me this was her favourite wild flower. And I can see why, it's a cheerful little thing! When I was a little girl my bedroom curtains were green meadow grass with wild flowers on them. And as I walk across the common and can see why she choose those curtains.

'forget-me-nots'
and then following that the beautiful blue 'forget-me-nots', scattered around the edges by the stone walls, and how could we indeed forget......, each year we remember how lovely they are! such a pretty blue and sometimes pink.

'wild garlic'



My walks have taken me through moist damp woods, where the wild garlic likes to grow. The air has been filled with the deep scent of wild garlic, and a magical carpet of pretty white star flowers have greeted me. So pungent. The leaves can be used in salads and are quite strong tasting, strong enough to make a pesto with .

'wild garlic woods'
As I walk through the woods I just let the trees and the earth ground me. Breathing out the stress. Centering myself again. The woods seem to be able to carry it all. I could live in the woods. Deeply peaceful and away from the jangle of technology. But believe it or not I am actually an urban girl who likes to see people and places and the city too. My daily walks with my dog are my time to touch base. Always carrying my camera now and looking more closely than before. It's so enriching.

'apple blossom'
Closer to home I have wandered around the garden enjoying the apple blossom and looking forward to  sweet apples this year. Last year there was only one apple! and it was lovely. Such a tease. There is lots of blossom so whatever happened last year, was it because of the weather or the disappearing bees? and plums too. Could it be a plum year I wonder? The plum tree likes to rest now and again.

'bluebells'

In my quest for the perfect 'bluebell'! I found this one in my garden. Such a pretty mauve colour. Just like little magical fairy hats, I think, possibly with little tinkling bells in!

evening in the cotswolds

Can I squeeze in this one of where I live. Everything is so full and green right now. This is my view of the valley where I live, taken in the evening, from the woods. We seem to be having our April showers now at the end of May!

flowers from the garden

At home my may quilt has found it's place for now on the back of my bench, and every few days I will find flowers for my table in the garden. There's lots of blues and purples in may!

June will no doubt herald it's own stunning parade of colours. Me and my camera are ready! The Cowparsley growing under the apple trees has reached shoulder height, at least for a 5ft 3 person! and will need to be strimmed. There's a huge amount of mowing going on here at the moment, the grass just keeps on growing! I think of it as my green gym work-out! But this half-term week has been a creative one, thanks to the rain. More sewing to show soon.

The sun is trying to squeeze it's way through today. This week has been a difficult one my friends. The challenges of the teenage years are hard for this single Mum. I learn more each day really. Try different things. You have to try and then sometimes you have to leave alone. Hoping we will bump through to happier less challenging days soon.

So come on June, we are ready for you. I know you will bring your challenges and decisions to be made. I know I need to act on some things. I can't sweep everything under the carpet. But please bring some happy sunny feel good medicine too! oh and slugs please don't eat my lettuce, at least not all of it!

How has your week been, 
do you garden in the rain!?

Heather
X



  

Thursday, 23 May 2013

The freedom to roam!

























































































Aren't they just beautiful!....and so powerful too!

I was driving my car across the common. I stopped as I could see the horses coming and knew they would cross the road. Magnificent and on a mission, they knew where they were going. Horses have right of way here, and cows too. Sometimes there's a little donkey following along. He tends to hang out with the horses!

These horses aren't wild, but between mid may and October they are allowed to roam and graze here on the common, along with about 400 cows. The ancient grazing rights go back to William the conqueror. In the surrounding area there are signs telling drivers 'the cows are out', and to take care driving across the common.

Over the first few days the young heifer cows were following and learning from the older ones. At first you would see a line of young cows standing at the edge of the road wondering what to do. Then suddenly one will break ranks, so you have drive slowly and be ready to stop. Sometimes they will cross on mass and the traffic just has to wait!

It can get busy up here, what with the cattle and the cars. There are also lots of dog-walkers. I just walk through the cows, as if it's a normal thing and my little dog follows along. I know not to walk between a mother and it's young, and walk round wide if any of them are stamping their feet and looking erratic!

There's also a golf course and some days it's so funny to watch the cows wandering up and down the golf course. They like to go and stand by the flag and have a scratch on the pole. Often leaving behind a gift for the men who look after the golf course!

I do love this place, with all its strange customs.

Do you have any strange happenings where you live? Do tell,

Heather
X

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

L i V i n G

Dear people, thank you for coming here, for reading and for leaving all your lovely comments!
It is much appreciated. I am enjoying myself!

I've been wanting to introduce you to this series;- Every now and again I have a collection of 'living' moments, which build up in my 'living jar', and I would love to share them with you here.

***

So every so often, with a nod towards infusing life with the cheerful, the positive, the uplifting and sometimes a glimpse of the familiar, the thoughtful and the 'what is....', I will show those here.

Just lately I have been enjoying these LiVinG moments,


* still enjoying the pretty colour of the Ranunculus petals, any advice about how to store the seeds and when to sow would be appreciated.

* learning what's edible in the hedgerow, inspired by Hesta and her wonderful Alys Fowler doll! She's even made her little dog. Haven't seen the new book yet though.

* in heaven wandering through the pink frothy sweet smelling apple blossom.

* following my own path. 
sometimes me and life can get on just fine but increasingly I find my self walking my own path.

* remembering I brought this pretty wool and considering making fingerless gloves even though it will be summer!

* creating a bird display on my mantle, inspired by the empty blue bird shells found around my garden.
being reminded life is so fragile. 

* just adoring my little dog, she's waiting for a treat, can you tell!?

* finding fabulous vintage(?) sunglasses while out thrifting.

* receiving a neighbourly gift of seedlings, lettuce and courgettes.  

* looking through a childrens set of affirmation cards and realizing they're great for adults too!


* * *

I hope you will enjoy this way of me sharing the snipits from my daily life. I will still be sharing my 'creative makings', and a 'feel better outside' series, together with some more ideas for features and articles. I want to share the things that inspire me, tell more about how and where I live, oh and there may be the occasional shop news too!

Phew this spring energy! Have a great week,
remember to have some you time too,

Heather
X




Friday, 17 May 2013

creative makings

This week I have been bitten by the sewing bug. The need to sew and stitch had been coming on for quite some time. I was reading Mollie makes. An interview with Dutch designer Marieke Voorsluijs of Club Geluk, where she shared her top decorating tip, "don't think about it - just make it,"  was enough to topple me into action.


I would make a quilt, not a big and complicated quilt, but a smaller, more random one where I could experiment with what would be my first quilt, and how it all goes together. 


Started the evening before in my craft room, and then moved into a sunny spot in the living room to continue the next day. There I discovered there is nothing nicer than stitching together pretty pieces of vintage sheets, in the sunshine, with the doors open, and the sounds of birdsong wafting in!


First I made panels, very randomly. Mainly by eye and without a cutting mat or rotary cutter, so matching up squares was not really likely!  In my mind I had the idea of french seams. So after stitching and pressing, I turned over my panels and stitched them on top.


I top stitched above the pressed seam. Now in my mind this may be a french seam, but I can't swear on that! It may be that the seams need to be pressed open and stitched on both sides. Or possibly top-stitching isn't necessary at all. 



Anyway, after ensuring my seams weren't likely to come apart ever.

  

Each panel was then pinned, stitched and ironed together and the new joining seam was top-stitched. Miss trissie worked hard and was companionable. That is until I tried to short cut on filling up the bobbin and a rather rightious jam occured. Technical skills were needed together with a butter knife and a pair tweezers and say no more. Short cuts don't work, mainly.......     


I backed the quilt with a very pretty and soft terry fabric. I'm happy to have found something to use this for, because it really rather lovely. I folded the edges over and under to make the bias binding and you guessed it, top stitched around this, securing it nice and dandy. I won't mention the corners other than to say there is definitely a corner trick I really want to learn! The idea for using the backing material for the bias binding came from the lovely, and colourful, Lisa, of mrsbobobun on her post here. She makes me want to sew.


and sew I did. Here she is, done and dusted. Or should I say stitched and pretty.


Ready to?...... well, I'm not really sure. She measures 80cm x 120cm. Maybe a small throw, or a little something for somewhere. She will find her place.


I discovered that I love my pin cushion brought a few years ago at a craft market. It's big, which makes it nice to use. It can always be found.

I discovered that using a pretty mini quilt, also from a craft market, under miss trissie helps her to slide easily around on the table as we cavort.

I discovered that using my material cutting scissors for cutting up dog chews in the kitchen, wasn't a good idea. And that my Mum's lovely gold, vintage scissors need sharpening. How do I do this?

And just maybe a purchase of a cutting mat and rotary cutter might be considered. 

I also love the perfumey smell of the vintage sheets when they're being ironed. A little strange perhaps but it reminds me of all the towels and sheets in my Mum's linen cupboard! 



and it's been so nice to use my vintage fabric and actually work with it. I think a cushion might be next.

I have been pinning lots of vintage sheet inspiration here. Feel free to have a look. Right now there's a lawn that needs mowing!

Are you trying any new crafts lately?
hope you have a lovely day,

Heather
X






Monday, 13 May 2013

feel better outside!

rain on the apple blossom
'Feel better outside, feel better inside'.  This is the logo for the charity Ecominds, and they are so right. I came across one of their leaflets about improving your mental health by getting outside and into nature.

We know this don't we. We hope this is an instinctive thing, good for our well-being on all levels. Whatever the weather. But when someone is really low they don't always find the ability to go and do these things.

rain drops on a feather
I know my walks with my dog up on the common or in the woods, are a real life saver. Couple that with getting outside and being active and in my case a weekly run in the gym, and the sense of well being can be profound. Especially when life is challenging.

green and fresh on the woodland floor
At Ecominds they suggest these five steps to well-being :-                                                                        
Connect,
Be active,
Take notice,
Keep learning,
Give.

This is great advice, we hopefully will all be doing this and feel well in ourselves. If you know anyone who would benefit from this advice please give them the details of Ecominds.

beautiful deep pink cherry blossom
Just stepping outside the door helps, a moment to breathe out. Technology can leave me feeling jangled. But it soon settles after being outside.

my driftwood corner
Just outside my kitchen door I am growing some strawberries, raspberries and few herbs that need a bit of looking after and encouragement, or maybe re-potting. I hope to be able to make some fresh herbal tea. I'm thinking Mint tea and a Lemonbalm tea would be nice. They smell so nice and fresh.

strawberries and driftwood
I found my driftwood down on the beaches of the River Severn. I must go there again so I can add to my collection. Of course if you do live near a beach, it must be a fantastic place to walk and breathe out.

A pretty Ribes bush I planted a few years ago
I love this plant, it's called a Ribes. It's reminicient of a raspberry plant and it's going to make a very pretty bush at the front of my garden. Grow, grow little bush!

Hope you are managing to spend time outside with nature!
What outdoor activities keep you sane?

*  *  *

Just to let you know that anybody who is interested in finding out more about mandalas I have added a new link on my previous post. I notice there are a few mentions of mandala around in the blogasphere at the moment. Have a good week.

Heather
X



Friday, 10 May 2013

mandala making

today I found myself in an unfocused haze,

 the different threads of my life I was following seemed to to be out of my reach.

all those details, plans, momentum, lost in the ether.

a change of plan and quite honestly, too much time on pinterest, 

still important things happened, but my clarity and direction seemed to be flung wide open.

So many threads, all important,


but I found my way back to this.

very soothing, very easy, very intuitive.

I have always loved mandalas, of all different kinds,

from the patterns on the beautiful moroccan tiles, to the delicate crochet and mandala artwork.

and I've always wanted a mandala drawing book......


apparently a mandala contains all possibilities inside and outside of us,

and creating a mandala is a way of opening ourselves up to these possibilities,

and can help us become more focused when we feel scattered.


sometimes i think confusion and chaos, and the unexpected, is life's way of throwing us wide open,

so that other new possibilities can appear,

this of course could be a good thing,



sometimes i fear i won't find my way back to all my threads and that somehow i'll have to begin again.

and for some reason that's really worrying!

I can start to resemble a hamster on a wheel, trying to keep up with them all.

sometimes surrender is the only option!

***

this mandala will eventually become a cushion, 

i'm enjoying it's roundness, 

i'm sure there will be many more! 



  

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

booty!

Yes that's right, car boot sale booty!

This May Day in and amongst the gardening and mowing we went car-booting. The first of the year. I went with good intentions, unless of course I found a pile of lovely vintage fabric, I really wasn't interested! Not your usual kind of find really but sometimes you never know.

I have been quite good of late. Mostly I'm trying to de-clutter. The stream of things going out has been quite good. Except for my recent thrifted suitcase, things have been quiet.

......but I must admit to feeling a bit twitchy, starting to slowly become convinced there must be a pile of good things waiting somewhere for me! I start trying to plan drive-bys into my day. Charity shop drive-bys! Our best shop is just out of town.......,

Anyway......,

I did of course indulge, and here are my finds;


It all started with these flowers. Please can somebody tell me their name?! I feel a little silly not knowing, but I don't really buy a lot of cut flowers, other than the odd bunch of Daffs. These were so pretty and reasonable that I had to buy them. The pink flower is just so exquisite.


and then I found some well needed flower pots for my window sill. 


followed by this 70's shell hanging plant holder! and another very well matched pot from another stall. Are you sensing a theme here?! I love this, I'm now looking for a pretty leafy plant to sit in here.


This tablecloth. I always buy these. Do you know if they have a name?


A stoneware pot, just right for my utensils. They don't fall over!


Oh and five crochet cushion covers, 50p each! I know I could have left some for someone else, but I don't know what came over me!

Several little tomato plants came home too. I have some simple plans for growing a few edible things this year. Like Rocket and Giant mustard leaves and maybe some Kale. I'm not going to go mad, but I do want to join in with the growing season.

Will you go car-booting this year? They are great if you have younger children moving up through the different stages. Or will you be there selling things, or perhaps avoiding bringing home more things?!



  



Everyone should carefully observe which way his heart draws him, and then choose that way with all his strength.
Hasidic saying