Monday, 28 April 2008

The details of daily life

"The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life. "
I like this quote. I like William Morris' designs too and the other quote that is probably more familiar:
"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." There is something serene in both of these statements, something that evokes time and space, attention and mindfulness.
Today was a day for noticing some of the details of daily life like the bluebells which have come out in their profusion in the front garden
For catching the sunlight on the willow tree in the back garden just before the rain started:

(pity about the washing line!)
And then catching the rainbow while it was raining in the sunshine:

So much to be thankful for, so much to enjoy if we choose to stop for the moment.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

It's been a while.....

It has certainly been a while since I last posted. Now what have I been up to? Well a variety of things actually, some work (day job) related like pitching for some freelance stuff which I believe I now have for over the next 4 months or so and focussing on daughter no.4 who had a very important interview last week for her fashion design course. Interview practice, looking at pieces of work and commenting, making healthy and nutritious meals and generally being available whenever needed! We won't know the result for another two weeks.
As a special surprise for her when she returned I made my first altered book which I was quite pleased with. Unfortunately I ran out of time and wasn't able to photograph it and she still has it wrapped up!!! Apparently she wants to open it when she finds out the result of the interview!!! Now there is some delayed gratification for you! So I'll have to wait until then to post a picture.
Now what about this giveaway!! I am really sorry I haven't got my act together before now but here is what it is: some batik material which was sent to me by my cousins in Kuala Lumpur. It is 45 inches by 45 inches (114.3 cm x 114.3cm)and I have two pieces (different colours) to give away so please leave me a comment telling me what is your favourite craft book and why. I will draw two winners at the end of this week so be sure to leave a comment by midnight on Friday 2nd May. Here is what you could win:

I look forward to hearing from you. Meanwhile I will be back very shortly with another post about the weekend.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Meet the boys!

Here they are, some of my favourite owls! There is Oscar the snowy owl and the biggest in the picture here who was given to me in one of those postal tubes very secretly for a birthday when the girls were small. I didn't suspect a thing and I am one of the best at finding out about pressies. It was such a surprise that I got very excited and the girls still remember it now. Next to him is Ernest. He really belongs to daughter no.4 , not that she really wants him at the moment but he has been very loved so much so that his fur is all lumpy and matted. In front of him is a baby owl, again given to me on a birthday, whose name is Archie. And at the very front is this little guy:
He was made by the very talented Amy at Lucykate Crafts who has just recently opened her own Etsy Shop. She makes some gorgeous toys and bags so do go and have a look for yourself.
Meanwhile if you came to my house you would discover that I liked owls fairly quickly because as you come through the front door you would see these:

And of course there are more but I won't bore you with any more photos, I am sure you get the idea.
So what do you collect? Do leave me a comment and let me know.
And come back around the end of the week because I think I might have something to giveaway - not an owl I hasten to add.
Tomorrow I am off to see my very good quilting friend for some advice on how to finish my first quilt in the best way. Hope you have had a good start to the week.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Simple pleasures - things that bring us joy

I have been challenged this week by the latest email newsletter from Cheryl Richardson who is such an inspiration. If you haven't discovered her then do go take a look. I have read a number of her books and am just reading The Unmistakable touch of Grace at the moment. It is excellent. Anyway each week Cheryl sends out an email of inspiration with a weekly challenge and this week was all about us connecting with the things that bring us joy, simple things not necessarily things that cost money. Her challenge was for me to make a list of the things that gave me pleasure and to connect with this whenever I feel stressed or out of balance. So here are some of my things not necessarily in any order:

1. Doing some crochet, knitting or sewing
2. Watching an episode of Frasier
3. Talking to one of my daughters on the phone
4. Reading crafty blogs!
5. Lighting a scented candle (lavender and rosewood are my favourites with clary sage coming in at 3rd place and grapefruit 4th)
6. Taking a walk in the woods or by water
7. Thrift shopping (see the latest little treasures below)
8. Making cards or other type of papercraft
9. Baking bread
10. Making soup
So I wonder what some of your little pleasures would be? Do let me know.
Not the best of pictures but these were delightful embroidered tray cloths and two pillowcases.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

What a surprise!

To wake up to this which was at least an inch of snow turning into something more like 2.5 inches when we got back from church this morning. I knew it was forecast but usually we miss most of it even when it is forecast in Kent. However today it was obviously our turn and it did look lovely I have to say. Hubby was out taking photos of the church (a 13th century old building) ready for next Christmas' parish magazine.
It was so amazing to think that temperatures were so much higher here on Friday and daughter no.4 and I had lunch on the patio with the sun burning through my jeans!
Yesterday it was colder for sure although hubby and I paid a visit to Petersham Nurseries near Richmond which was my birthday treat. I 've never been there before and it was by recommendation from a good friend. I was not disappointed. A truly delightful spot with greenhouses turned into a cafe and restaurant with plants everywhere. There were fragrant lemon trees, jasmine, hyacinths and narcissus. We had homemade butternut squash soup and sourdough bread which was delicious. Here is a photo and one of the campanula I couldn't resist taking home with me:

And in the afternoon I set to putting a border on my granny square afghan which is nearly finished!

So tomorrow is officially my last day of the long commute having taken the decision to finish this contract earlier than originally planned - definitely the best decision given the health episodes of the last couple of weeks.
I hope you are having a great weekend and that if you are in the UK, the snow hasn't prevented you from doing all you wanted to today.

Thursday, 3 April 2008


Do you like the new banner heading? This was courtesy of (not sure how to just get the title in here yet!) and was free. Do go over and take a look as there are others to choose from. I have also finally taken the time to add some of my favourite blogs.
I am at last feeling better and even managed to put in the delightful bay tree daughter no.1 gave me for my birthday and to rearrange some polyanthus along the border. And the big news is that I have decided not to continue with my far away assignment and therefore Monday will be my last day travelling on the long commute. I feel quite relieved about it all although it was a great place to work. Other freelance work is coming in so that will keep me occupied and out of mischief but hopefully there will be some time to get on with some crafting projects.
I did make a range of cards this week, mainly stamped images in a range of colours and spritzed to give a watercolour effect.

And what about these for flowers? Daughter no. 4 chose them on behalf of my mother-in-law who was keen to make sure I had some although she wasn't able to go and get them.
They are really exotic looking and make a wonderful display.
Thank you for the kind and encouraging comments over these last couple of weeks. I have really appreciated them. It is sooooooo good to feel better again.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

This just about sums it all up!

Daughter no.3 bought this card for me for my birthday, knowing that this is probably how I felt about it all! Doesn't this little fellow look grumpy?!!
But I did have some delightful gifts and lots of flowers.

A very swish Cath Kidston basket and pair of gardening gloves amongst other lovely things.
I am still coughing and today I woke up aching all over but it just has to get better! The sun is shining and the sky is blue......