Saturday, 22 May 2010

A Grand Day Out

The sun shone out of a big blue East Anglian sky for our day trip to Audley End House and Saffron Walden yesterday.   We felt like two excited schoolgirls off on our summer holidays.   Anne had had her nails polished and I'd had my hair cut and was wearing quite a fancy necklace, so we were all set for the day.   All aboard the Skylark for Audley End House.

Huge topiary hedge

Walled kitchen gardens, which used to supply the house with all their fruit and vegetables and plants for 'her indoors'.   Lots of espaliered fruit which yesterday were really getting the benefit of the heat radiating from the brickwork.

hundreds of terracotta pots, which were coveted by my companion  (though I have to say that this became a bit of a theme for the day ....)

pomelo - gigantic lemon-like but sweet fruit native to South East Asia, growing happily in the hothouse

Then off to the Jacobean stables, as we had been told a very handsome groom was on duty.    Actually the horse was pretty gorgeous too.

round by the river over the daisy-strewn lawns landscaped by Capability Brown

to the Tea House Bridge designed by Robert Adam

and back to the service wing of the house and into the laundry

coveting of pegs took place

followed by coveting of lacy linen

I think these are irons, but it's not a pastime I'm very familiar with ... not much coveting going on

round the corner into the dairy with it's sparkling white tiles

and my turn to covet

then what we wanted was a nice sit down and a cup of tea

Then we had a tour of the state apartments in the main house, but no photos allowed, so you can always go to the website to see.

After lunch we drove a couple of miles to the wonderful little town of Saffron Walden, mainly to visit the Fry Gallery ..... which I'll tell you about another day.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend whatever you're doing!


Friday, 21 May 2010

busy busy busy

made these
and this

and these

experimented with these

and this

laughed at these two

received this as part of my Clasheen Spring Swap

also had a haircut, went to the doctor, did the shopping, planted out loads of veg plants in the 'potager', spent two hours with a double-glazing salesman, bought some smashing books at the thrift shop, did some more work on my hand-made book about birds.  So v. busy,  but not nearly so busy as this little chap who is in and out of that hole in the garage roof nine squillion times a day with juicy caterpillars...
and today Anne and I are having a Grand Day Out at Audley End and the Fry Gallery in Saffron Walden to see the Women of Bardfield Exhibition.

So hope to have some nice photos to show you at the weekend.

back soon ......


Monday, 17 May 2010

Mosaic for Monday

1. Traffic, 2. Wool flted wrap / scarf / hip wrap, 3. Letterpress, 4. RED SEAWEED

From some of my Flickr Favourites.   I love looking at other people's photos, not only those of other crafters, but from anyone who can take a good snap and these colours just appealed to me today.   So just how much time can a girl waste dawdling through Flickr?   Lots ....

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Lilac Time with bonus thrifted lovelies

Lilac blossoms are heavy on the trees in the garden right now and one particular branch gives me an unwarranted slap on the chops every time I walk by, so ..... it had to go.   But it's the perfect bunch for my lovely vintage pressed glass jug bought at my favourite thrift shop last week.   And the marauding muntjac condescended to leave me two tulips to enjoy, bless 'em.

I adore this little blue jug (purchased in the same emporium).   It's got a 1930's feel to it, a sweet spout and is such a delicate colour.   It's very touchy-feely too.

The clematis in the posy were victims of their own success, like the lilac.   The plant is so vigorous that it entwines itself round the car wing-mirrors, or gets trapped in the door when you want to drive off.  So .... it had to go.

I've been so weed-obsessed in my gardening duties lately, that I forgot to look at the pretty things.   Silly me.

Aha - modern village life - just as I was about to post this, I heard clippety-clop outside and looked up to see a pony going by .... the rider was chatting away on her mobile phone!

Thursday, 6 May 2010


My luck with raffles and such is woeful.   I did once win a bamboo back-scratcher when I was about 10 years old.   Whatever happened to that, I wonder.....?

However, Cathy from One Pink Goose had organised a GiveAway on her blog and although I rarely jump on the bandwagon, I so love her work that I thought I would throw my hat in the ring.   (Takes some doing, simultaneously jumping on a bandwagon while throwing your hat in the ring.)     And, lo and behold - I didn't win!   However, Cathy has such a generous nature that she not only had a main recipient, she devised a way for several lucky runners-up to receive prints of her work.   So I am now the more-than-delighted owner of The Hen Collector.   Isn't she just great and wouldn't Fanny, Madge and Hilda love to be carried around in little baskets?   Thank you Cathy.

Cindy, who lives on the coast in Northern California, is another of life's naturally generous folk.   She's a fellow pebble fanatic and bought some handmade felted versions from my Etsy shop and we had some lovely correspondence as a result.   Isn't it funny how you can know you like someone even from the briefest of emails?  

Anyhoo, Cindy was desperately keen to send me some real pebbles from the shore near her home and although the postal service spirited away Cindy's first package, the second one arrived this morning.   Aren't they beauties?   I couldn't love them more - a heart, a coal black one, one with a kiss on it, three that are perfect for stacking and two very special agates with exquisite markings.   All the way from the Pacific Shore - magic.   I wonder if Cindy looks like me when she's beach-combing?   Bent over like a half-shut knife so as not to miss anything on the way out and bent over like a half-shut knife with the weight of pebbles in the pockets on the way back.   Thank you Cindy.

And I hope Lesley (her wonderful blog:  PrintedMaterial) won't mind me showing you the most magnificent hand-made notebook she sent me.  It's been a very inspiring little book and is now my very favourite.  It goes everywhere with me, so that I can quickly jot down notes and ideas before they vanish in that gaping cavity between my ears.    I've never been very good at working through creative ideas in a lengthy way, most often just jumping in and getting on with it, but Lesley's beautiful book with its tempting pages has helped me work in a different way and one I'm really enjoying and benefitting from.     It even came to the V & A with me last week!

And, gulp, some adorable buttons - did I mention before that I go weak at the knees at the sight of mother-of-pearl?  OK, maybe once or twice I did.   And a humungous bundle of luggage labels - which is leading to a little project that I have in hand - all the notes for which are safely stored in my little blue handmade notebook.    Thank you Lesley.

So much kindness in the world, isn't there?

Hope you're all having a wonderful week, whatever you're doing!