Thursday 31 May 2012

The politics of flower picking

Hello there, thanks for all your lovely comments about my tea towel, I must say that I did enjoy making it despite the last minute rush the night before the wedding.

Yesterday, I asked a friend what she thought of picking flowers? It was the lovely Annie of Knitsofacto who got me thinking about doing a little post about this. She was talking about the purposeful and beautiful cow parsley that seems to be flourishing everywhere in the UK at the moment. Whilst reading her post I was thinking about my little addiction. 

What do I mean by my little addiction? Well, I like to try and have a jam jar of picked free (thrifted?) flowers each week in our dining room. Something to feel dreamy about in the blurry early morning breakfasts and to light up with candles in the hazy Summer evening meals. 

So each week, I go walking or cycling and picking flowers. Now for the BIG question.... Where do I pick these free flowers? And am I wrong to do so? 

When I was growing up in South Africa, we had a big garden and it was easy to pick flowers, pretty foliage and twigs etc from our own property. Living in our mid-terraced English home, we only have a courtyard big enough for hanging out washing, a bench and table and 2 chairs and as many pots as I can choicefully gather and create a little flora haven of our own.

Alice has grown up with her mama teaching her to pick flowers from our pots and put them one by one into my old bottle collection or jam jars or little jugs for us to enjoy indoors. 

Basically, what I'm trying to say is that we NEED little flowers in our lives. If something is missing, it's usually because we don't have a floral delight somewhere in our home. 

I don't know about you but I just can't help picking flowers. I'm not fussy about what flowers, I'm just happy to be able to have them. On the way to work a last week I couldn't stop help myself from picking some buttercups to put through a button hole in my cardigan. I often pick cherry blossoms in the Spring and thread the twig through a clip in my hair. I seriously can't resist the temptation. I think I may have a problem!

There are limitations to my addiction and here are my do's and don'ts:

Don't: pick flowers from anyone's garden, pick daffodils or tulips in the countryside, pick flowers in a park or in the gardens along the sea-front or purposefully planted by the council, pick flowers that stand alone.

Do: pick flowers that are plentiful and not the only one, pick flowers in the hedgerows, growing in-between the pavement cracks, along the walkway to my recycling bins, from my own pots, in friends (who will let me) gardens.

Please do tell me if my Do's are wrong, I would hate to be offending anyone and picking wild flowers that I really shouldn't be. Is there a code for this kind of thrifting of flowers? Have I just admitted to a crime?

I do have a niggling guilt when I pick a flower thinking that other people would be enjoying it's beauty instead of me selfishly thinking I want that for my own. Am I right or wrong? Please do let me know your opinion so that can adjust my behaviour so as not to offend anyone. I certainly don't mean to and eeeeekkkkk don't like the idea of committing crime!

In the meantime while I await your wise words, I shall admire my first attempt at guerilla gardening in our pebbly front garden. {I basically just threw poppy seeds over the pebbles and hoped they would grow}.

Thanks for popping in
Oh, and for your opinions too 

Monday 28 May 2012

Tea towel ta-dah and tears

Have you all had a relaxing weekend? It's been so warm and summery here on the south east coast of England. Impossible for me to feel anything but lifted and lighter with the summer breeze and chilled out living that's been going on around here.

As you can see I went to a colleague friend's wedding on Saturday and my goodness it was a thing of beauty! No bride could have asked for more perfect wedding weather and to have a wish come true to be wed under the brilliant blue sunshine skies. I must say that when I saw Lynette emerge from Horsted House I welled up and had the hot prickle of tears streaming down my cheeks. She is  so special to me and has waited a long time for her chap to propose. Oh, how I love a romantic story and good wedding.

The happy couple asked if any gifts could be kitchen related as they are refitting their current kitchen and so I thought why not throw a little tea towel romance into the equation? 

I hand stitched the tea towel from a cotton+linen piece of fabric I bought in Lewes a few months ago and used my machine to stitch the vintage braiding securely on one end.

Then with the use of my trusty embroidery hoop and washable fabric pen I set to work.

Somewhere on the web I saw these words (sorry I can't remember where) and knew that they would come in handy one day. 

So there it is..... Ta-dah, my home grown tea towel for a little romantic drying up of all those dishes (well maybe not with the advent of dishwashers in this modern age)!

Do you like my little 10p charity shop doily I added for effect? You can always find me rummaging in the linen sections of charity shops, I love collecting and reusing a doily or two.

I promptly washed, dried and ironed this little gift before wrapping it up to take to the ceremony.

Other than that we have been BBQ-ing, swimming in the sea, snoozing on the beach, going to a Cava and cupcake fund raising party and generally just chilling. 

What did you get up to this weekend? Do tell :o)

See you all soon

Thursday 24 May 2012

Raspberry cooler

Since the sun has got his hat on, hip hip hooray this week, I've been cooling down with this simple raspberry cooler I like to make. 

It's so simple, if you like the sharpness of raspberries like I do, here's what you do:

Just add these two simple ingredients together, in fact you can use any frozen fruit you like. I also love mango and pineapple. I try to use peeled chunks of fresh fruit that I have frozen when the fruit is cheaper, on special deals or like these raspberries that I picked last summer and froze over the winter.

 I used my hand blender as it's a lot easier to clean.

Yummmy, it's sooooo refreshing {and sharp} and healthy too xox 

I'm linking up (oops a little late) with Lakota's Ta-dah Tuesday, do go and take a look at her great chalkboard placemats, such a fab idea.

Right I'm off to make me another of these yummies 
See you all soon

Tuesday 22 May 2012

Lily of the valley for you

Hello, for those of you in the UK, did you enjoy the sunshine today? Wasn't it just glorious. I felt alive with the warmth of sunshine on my skin and I enjoyed going down to the seafront for a drink with some work colleagues after work. It felt so good. 

Do you like my Lily of the Valley flowers? My gorgeous friend Helen gave these to me as a belated birthday gift. It has become a bit of an annual event, she knows that I adore these delicate beauties and their scent, oh their scent makes me giddy and overwhelmed with nostalgia. 

I wanted to share these with you to say thank each and everyone of you who entered my little give away and to announce the winner tonight. I know I said I would randomly draw a name on the 23 May but I forgot that I have to be up at the crack of dawn tomorrow to go on a 3 hour journey to a conference and wouldn't be home till late, after which no doubt I would be too tired to blog. So, my random number generator i.e. my lovely 11 year old Alice got to choose a number  between 1 and 39 and she chose 29.... which is the lovely Stephanie from Millefeuilles.  

Well done Stephanie, please could you email your postal address to me at: 
{By the way, do visit her blog it's divine}

I have been slowly working on my simple squares treble crochet baby blanket for one of Alice's teacher's. Mrs.W is expecting her second baby and Alice absolutely adores her and I can see why. She is very special and all the kids love her firm but fair way of teaching. I'm crocheting with Rico Baby Classic which is soft and a pretty pastel for sweet new life. 

I was supposed to have done many more squares by now but time has slipped away and alas I have only done 6. I lay in bed thinking how to join these squares and I decided to try and crochet them together which is making quite a nice effect but I'm still not 100% sure? Hhhmmm we'll see. Please excuse all the messy threads in these photo's, I got impatient and didn't even bother to weave the ends in before trying to crochet the squares together. I can be a little like that when I want to try an idea out. I have some time to play with different ideas before she goes on maternity leave at the end of June. 

Righteeooo, I must go and get myself sorted out for my early rise tomorrow. The train journey will be perfect hooky time, yay.

See you all soon
loving all your comments / conversation by the way

Saturday 19 May 2012

Going boldly

Hello, hello, hello again. Can I firstly shout out a big 'thank-you' for commenting and entering my funny little give-away here, I was so pleased to read your comments and an even bigger hello to new readers too xox 

Secondly, thanks so much for your comments on my previous post about Alice's sats tests, each and everyone was read and appreciated. I didn't want to start a debate or wind anyone up, I was just writing my feelings in a little poem and by no means was I berating or belittling her Year 6 teachers, who are most divine and have been a loving and caring support to my girl on this year's learning journey. My hat goes off to anyone who teaches children, it's a vocation that needs to be treasured for sure.

This week has been a testing one for me so far, juggling my work-life balance and ensuring that I carve out a little time for myself in amongst all the juggling. I've also realised that for the first time in ages (about 15 years infact !) I have had to be BOLD again. 

When I say bold, I mean that I decided to come out of my comfort zone in my profession and move into a very different arena of work (although still within my profession). This has affected my confidence a little and I've had to swallow my anxiety and any fearfulness and just get on with it. I am setting up a new service within Oncology in my County and it's been a two month roller coaster ride at times. Such highs of sheer excitement and hopes for what can be done and then lows of wondering if I'm doing OK or making a difference in my patient's lives. It's like nothing I have ever experienced before and I have had to learn to let go of "my need to be in control" all the time and ride the wave.

To help myself feel more confident, you're going to laugh at this... I decided to start wearing some basic make-up. Yep, I who only wears the odd bit of mascara, lipstick and blush on the very odd occasion decided to paint my face (simple make-up still, not over the top) and go boldly into my new working world. I know this may sound rather child-like to some of you but I wanted to try it out and it seems to have helped in some obscure way. How shallow can I go you might be saying?

Believe me I am not someone who spends money or time on make-up, I've got 1 lipstick that has lasted 12 years and a blush from my 16th birthday!!! But, this week after work I've spent a little time and money on some basics and really loved the sheer indulgence of it. Each morning has been a revelation at how I can  spend 5 minutes painting my face and feel so bold.... covered in "my warrior paint" how strange is that? It has however, been good fun and I'm enjoying being 'girly' again. Not sure how long this will last but I'm up for the ride.
I've always been fascinated at the cosmetics industry but never been a a partaker as such. It kills me to see so much money being wasted spent on cosmetics and dare I say honing in on young girls/women's insecurities? 

Glittery popstick purchased for Spring glossy lips
I have been surprised how easy it is to find myself being drawn into this multi-million pound industry rabbit hole. I have been watching a few You Tube home-made video's and have found them fascinating and strangely influential in me wanting to go out and purchase this cream, that concealer, this nail polish, that mascara. There is absolutely nothing wrong with them, believe me these young women are pro's at purchasing and putting on make-up, it's fascinating for someone like myself who has never really bothered that much. Being the sado that I am,it feels like I'm discovering something new for the very first time.

I find it almost addictive and I have to be careful not to let Alice cotton on to them to soon. She's only 11 and although I won't make her wait till her 16th birthday, as my parent's did, to wear make-up, I don't think 11 is any where near old enough to start. I don't know what do you think?  

I don't want to get into a feminist/political/body image etc. argument here and I can hand on heart say that I don't have an issue with make-up. I'm just rather pleasantly surprised how it's making me feel at the moment and who knows I might just get used to this ?

Let me know what you think, I'm fascinated. Do you wear make-up?

Anyway, here's wishing you all a great rest of the weekend.
See you all soon with my latest crochet and embroidery project

Monday 14 May 2012

When I was eleven

When I was eleven
It still felt like I was seven,
I climbed trees, 
ran in the breeze
and scraped my knees.

When I was eleven
life felt like heaven,
I rode my bike,
did hand stands, cart wheels and the like 
and oh, read the Secret Seven.

I did (mostly) what I was told
learnt to be bold and 
didn't worry about getting old.

Now I see you,
my daughter, who
takes the world on her shoulders,
bogged down with sats tests like big boulders,
stressed and strained, 
having moments of your childhood maimed.

I know this week will soon fly by
sometimes the institution of schooling can make me cry.
Be carefree my sweet,
you'll do just great,
You don't have to worry about 
proving yourself to the state! 
  (written by me at 2am this morning)

This little poem of mine says it all, please don't get me wrong, I am not against education in any shape or form but having seen my girly putting herself under such pressure it hurts me so. I am not in favour of her feeling stress at this tender age and I know these tests were inevitable but that still doesn't make me agree with them. 

I hope this has not offended anyone in education in any shape or form, it's just my opinion x

Thursday 10 May 2012

The Joy of blogging ; a give-away (now closed)

It's been an age since I had a give-away and I thought it was about time to gather some bits and bobs from my various thrifted charity shop/boot sale collections and some items I bought for an absolute bargain over the past few months, to say a great big THANK YOU for all your inspiration, advice, sharing of stories, general ups and downs and friendships over the past couple of years.

Blogging is strangely addictive...I was discussing with my very bestest friend Bronwen when I was in South Africa how odd or strange it seems to blog, who/what are we blogging for? I think it's for many reasons and most of us have asked ourselves this question and answered it rather eloquently. 

My reason today is to spread my blogging joy a little (I like giving things away to people who like similar things to me :o) and show my appreciation for your comments and community spirit of like minded people. So here goes:

There will be some of these old cards including birds, butterflies and flowers:

Some vintage (+ 1 new one in the centre) buttons from my collection:

Bits and bobs; old stamps, wooden pegs to make a dolly with, some of these large safety pins I seem to have accumulated (I thought I might sew or crochet something onto mine and make it into a brooch of sorts?) and a sweet ceramic rose I stuck onto a small wooden peg for keeping papers together:

A 100g skein of Manos silk blend (30% silk and 70% merino):

The vintage buttons from last month's Mollie Makes magazine and a Cath Kidston egg cup (Boiled eggs don't feature in this here household):

This little ceramic brooch I picked up last year when we visited Charleston House:

Oh, and one of my many many (don't tell my husband!) crystals from old chandeliers...

Umm, what else, oh yes this little ball oh blue hemp twine, I crocheted mine into a bath scrub inspired by the gorgeous Alice from Crochet with Raymond's blog:

And last but not least the little envelope style vintage pillow case I've taken all these photo's on: 

Here's all the give-away bits and bobs together to give you a little more perspective:

So that's it folks, to enter just follow my blog and leave a comment. I'll add a button at the side if you want to advertise this give-away on your blog and if you do, let me know and I'll pop your name into the draw twice.

I'll draw the winning name on Wednesday the 23rd May
All the best and take special care 
This give away is now closed, thanks for entering.

Can anyone help?

Hello, it's only me asking if anyone can help...? I seem to have irritated Blogger with my use of photograph space and so every time I want to upload a photo into my sidebar or change my header it keeps telling me that I have "exceeded my photo upload quota" and for more information to look at the Blogger information page. 

The Blogger info page suggests that I purchase more photo space? Has this happened to anyone else? Are you able to tell me what you did if this is the case, I don't want to have to purchase more space if I don't need to, but in the same breath I'd like to refresh my header and add pictures to my side bar etc. If you have had the same concern and solved it, or know anything about this can you let me know? I'd so very much appreciate any info you might have.

What led me to posting about this was me trying to spread the word about the lovely Lisa of Bobo Bun's Craft it Forward post. Do go and have a read and participate if you fancy. I love this idea, spreading the crafting joy xox Here's the photo link I wanted to pop in my sidebar but "Blogger said NO" !


Thanks in anticipation :o)