Friday, 24 April 2009

Exciting News!

Daughter no.3 announced her engagement this week and we are SO excited.  She has known A for over a year now and he is a delightful young man; it is very evident that they love each other very much.  They are hoping to be married this October so lots of planning for them to do.  And it will mean that daughter no.2 will come back from Uganda for the celebration - what a bonus!
I just had to have a look at a gorgeous book I managed to get second hand - The Handcrafted Wedding by Sara Lugg.  I just love Sarah's work and this book based on her own wedding is a feast for the eyes.  I couldn't resist just photographing a few pages for you to look at.  I'm not sure daughter no.3 will want to do any of this but there are some lovely ideas not just for weddings.

Thoughtful Friday No. 42

"Within your heart, keep one still secret spot where dreams may go"
Louise Driscoll

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

The Treasure Box

Some time ago, my dear quilting and crafty friend and 'Anam Cara (soul friend) discovered she had a tumour on her liver and the prognosis was 12 - 18 months.  Last Thursday she went back to the oncologist and discovered that it is likely to be 6 - 9 months!!  She is an amazing woman and full of life and vitality nonetheless.  When I first found out, I made plans to surprise her and on Thursday was able to deliver a treasure box made to 'brighten dull days'.  I covered a shoe box in some lovely fabric I bought in a French market (on the borders of Switzerland) last year while on holiday and then wrapped a lot of little things I knew she would enjoy.  Some of these I have been collecting (a heart made out of dried rosebuds, a scented candle, some patchwork tissues, some special magazines) and some things I have made (felted ball bracelet).  The instructions were that she could use this as a lucky dip box when she felt a bit down or dreary and she might find something to lighten and brighten the day ahead.  It was a delight to make it and I am really hoping it will give her delight in the way she has delighted so many people with her thoughtfulness over the years.  And I am praying that there may be more time than the doctors think for her to be on this earth.  She is a very special lady and I and many others will miss her very much.

Friday, 17 April 2009

A visit to the Orangery!

On Wednesday I took a good friend to Kensington Palace Orangery for lunch!  Not somewhere I go often!!  In fact I have only been once before and was taken by a lovely friend for afternoon tea.  It is a lovely spacious environment and all food is made on the premises using organic or locally produced ingredients and they actually serve the first ever English grown tea from Cornwall called Tregothan.  After a delicious lunch - quiche and salad for me and chicken and salad for my friend, we set off with our two for one voucher to Kensington Palace.  Lots to see there and a new exhibition on English debutantes of the 1950's.  The state apartments are delightful and my photos certainly don't do it justice at all.  Did you know that a very young Queen Victoria was told she would be the next Queen as she woke up one morning in Kensington Palace.  Here is the bed she would have slept in:
Here are some other rooms and special things in the Palace:

Of course many of the rooms were shaded or in low light to protect the furnishings.  One room of great interest was the sewing room where intricate lace and beading would have been stitched for all the special dresses and garments worn by the monarchy.
Outside the sun was shining and the gardens were looking very pretty indeed:

All in all it was a lovely day with lots to see and lots to chat about.  If you fancy a day out in London this is definitely worth a look and with a two for one offer from one of the days out websites it is really quite reasonable.

Easter outings

So how was your Easter?  We had a lovely time with our guests and family members.  My mother-in-law will be 83 this month but is pretty good shape although less mobile than she has been.  We wanted to take her and her friend out into the Kent countryside so we made a visit to Lullingstone Country Park.  Although it looks a little grey here it did brighten up and a wander into the World Garden along a path strewn with flowers in bright colours was very jolly.  We even took a riverside walk (complete with wheelchair!).

We had tea and cake outside with the sun on our backs and then pottered around the nursery where a little violet plant was purchased for me.  It was a very happy day.

Another day we made a visit to a delightful garden centre where I was able to spend the plant token I got for my birthday.  I bought a Bottle Brush shrub - a photo of that another time but it actually has a flower (mine is bright red) which looks exactly like a bottle brush and very cute.

Easter Sunday was a special lunch for 8 followed by tea in bone china cups, hot cross buns and chocolate Easter cake (very similar to the one I made last year I discovered from looking back at the blog!!) but I wasn't able to take any photos as I was chief cook and bottle-washer and it is very difficult to do all the hosting and take the photos.  I realise now that I should have delegated the photography to a daughter but alas I didn't think of it at the time!

Thoughtful Friday No. 41

"We make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give"
Winston Churchill

Friday, 10 April 2009

Thoughtful Friday No. 40

"When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Love so amazing, so divine
shall have my soul, my life, my all."
Isaac Watts

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Crafty things

Here is the finished crochet blanket I have been working on for a while.  I just love the colours of this wool.  It is Bernat Picasso and from the US (I haven't been able to find a supplier here, I got it from Mary Maxim in the US) and was lovely to work with.

Also a crochet cafetiere cosy which I made using Peaches and Creme cotton, again from the US but available here from First4yarns.
Another little thing I have been experimenting with is decoupage:

I covered this little heart box in a couple of sheets of special decoupage paper using a varnish type glue and it has a great effect. Apparently you can do this on any surface, wood, metal, cardboard etc so it seems very versatile indeed.  Can't wait to do more.

I am just snucking away from the guests I have staying here for Easter (mother in law and her friend) so mustn't be too long but I will leave you with some new pics of Max and Mollie!!

I hope you have a lovely Easter.  

Friday, 3 April 2009

Thoughtful Friday No. 39

"Each day holds a surprise.  But only if we expect it can we see, hear or feel it when it comes to us.  Let's not be afraid to receive each day's surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy.  It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity."
Henri Nouwen

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Instalment 3 - Maximus and Molly come to stay!!

Not one cat but two!!  It has been a rollercoaster of a ride I have to tell you.  Since our special cat Alfie died two years ago we have said we would have another one at some point and that point seemed to be right about four weeks ago when we started looking at rescue cats locally.  But I had NO idea how emotional this might be.  Do you know what I mean?  It seemed each one I loved had gone before we got to see him.  Then it was a case of 'if you love me you have to love my brother too' and because I hesitated for a day or so, they, too went to someone else.  So daughter no.3 did lots of research and found a rescue centre (on our way to the tea shop on Mother's Day) and we made the decision there and then.  It takes a bit of getting used to again having cats.  They have been in the living room for a week (request by the rescue centre) but are scheduled to have the freedom of the rest of the house on Saturday but they can't go outside for another 6 weeks!!!
Max, below, is the timid one although he much larger than Mollie.  They are brother and sister and supposedly only 18 months.  He is quite a handsome boy already though.

Mollie loves to lie on her back for a tummy rub or dashing around using her paws to 'football dribble' anything she can find that moves!  They love each other a lot and are sitting side by side here with me on the sofa as I type.  I realise that for me having anyone to come and live in the house is quite something and through this process (of having the cats) I am learning quite a lot about myself.  I also realise just how much I loved Alfie for the five years we had him.  He was a very special boy.

Instalment 2

These beautiful lillies came from daughter no.1 for my birthday last Sunday!  Poor daughters two Sundays of pressies and celebrations for their mother! But I had a lovely weekend with all sorts of delights and pleasures.  Let me tell you about some of them!  Saturday I opened some of the many presents I had from my lovely friends
some fabulous magazines from the US

some gorgeous polish pottery that I have been eyeing for the last two years!

a combination of two of my loves - patchwork and owls - someone knows me well!

a quilting kit and a lovely film which I saw at Christmas but really want to see again.
So after this feast of goodies, P and I set off for a day in Lewes, East Sussex where we pottered around and had a spot of light lunch and a walk around the castle before heading off to Seaford to catch a glimpse of the sea before the rain and hail set in.  Then it was home to open a few more pressies and do some serious reading of magazines!

Sunday came (my actual birthday) and a beautiful heart painting in a handpainted frame awaited me from daughter no.1 before she had to dash off for the day.  Daughters 3 and 4 came for lunch again and I was treated to some special wool from Liberty of London and the promise of tea there with daughter no.4.  The afternoon got underway with a game of Settlers of Catan - a great board game if you have never come across it.  The unique thing about it is that the board changes every time you play!  All in all a very delightful weekend.

The Dog and Patchwork shop in Lewes was a must-see.  Oh, what lovely goodies they had.

The storm clouds were brewing as we left Seaford and on the way home we had heavy hailstones.