Thursday, 11 September 2014

Happy Cat Waving embroidered wall art

Back in July I blogged about the handmade, personalised Birthday present I made for my niece. I created a hand embroidered cushion using a picture she had drawn when she was a little girl.

I was so pleased with the result, I made another one for myself. This time I didn't make a cushion, I made a piece of wall art.

I had recently bought a staple gun and thought this would be the perfect project to try it out on. Using the same image, I hand embroidered another 'Happy Cat Waving" motif onto a piece of plain calico and then stretched it over a canvas frame. I then attached the calico using the staple gun.

I'm really happy with the final look and I'm pretty much obsessed with using my staple gun to make more wall art in the near future!

Monday, 8 September 2014

Reasons to be cheerful

My last blog post was a bit sad.

I was really struggling with my little girl starting school.

As it turns out, she's coped really well and I've coped better than I thought I would. She seems to be relishing this new stage in her life.

So I've decided to focus on the positives.

Reasons to be cheerful:

* The weather has been beautiful over the past few days.

* We spent the weekend camping at Woodlands in Devon. We had a blast. The water slides gave me a much-needed adrenaline rush & perked me up no end.

* Sleeping in the tent next to my daughter and looking at her beautiful face whilst she slept.

* Listening to owls too-wooing whilst we lay under canvas.

* Mowing the lawn today and smelling fresh cut grass...one of the best smells ever.

* Drinking tea on our bench in the September sunshine.

* Looking forward to seeing my girl at the end of the school day. I'm so proud of her & how well she is coping with school.

* Picking the last of the ripening home-grown tomatoes...I wait all Summer for this moment, nothing beats home-grown tomatoes.

I'm linking up with the @Manneskjur "How does your garden grow" blog link #HDYGG

Manneskjur

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Starting school and paper dolls

My daughter's first day at school is looming, two more sleeps and we'll be walking to the school gates together.

My daughter is so excited about starting school. I'm using her positive energy to keep me going. I'm shedding all my tears when she's in bed. I wont let her see me upset. School is a daunting experience and she doesn't need to see me cry because she'll wonder what's wrong...

I’m feeling incredibly emotional about her starting school. I feel like I’m going to have a big part of me missing without having my daughter at home. I thought she was adorable as a baby, but as she's grown and developed her own personality, she's even more amazing…I want to keep her close to me, always.

But I know I can’t. So I’m writing this down to try and help me…

We made a trip to the library last week and my daughter decided to borrow ‘The Paper Dolls” amongst a selection of other books. It wasn’t until I read it to my daughter at home that I realised how special the parent-child bond is.

We couldn’t have read “The Paper Dolls” at a more poingnant time. I love the happy-sad tone of the book and the final image of the mother-daughter relationship is really wonderful.

It’s one of the best children’s books I’ve read and it really moved me. Virtually everything Julia Donaldson writes is amazing as far as I’m concerned. Her work has been a huge part of my daughter’s childhood. Her words are teamed with beautiful illustrations by Rebecca Cobb. It touches on love, memory, childhood, loss and finally on the role of motherhood. I feel children’s literature should resonate with the adult reading the story just as much as it does with the child. Some of the best children’s books I’ve read haven’t been afraid to address the big subjects, the things that affect adults and children alike.

I feel so privileged to have been able to spend these precious early years with my daughter. We’ve played, created, sang, imagined, learnt, explored, loved and bonded.

My daughter was fascinated with the idea of making paper dolls. So, just like in the story, we made our own set of dolls. When she’d finished decorating them and I looked at their faces I realised she’d captured how I feel about her going to school...happy-sad-happy.

I’m going to miss her terribly when she starts school, but I know it’s the next step on her life journey. I hope we can keep making new memories, just like the little girl in the book does.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Vintage Love: kitsch enamel biscuit tin

I love a bit of kitsch. And it doesn't get much more kitsch than this vintage, enamel biscuit tin.

It's whimsical, it's floral, features gingham, big hair, loving glances, soppy dog...what's not to like?

Given to me by my Gran a few months ago, I'm not sure when it dates from. I'm guessing 1970s, but may be even older. My Gran was an avid horder of enamel tins and she never liked to throw anything away. I'm certainly glad this one didn't head into the bin.

This vintage enamel tin sits in my kitchen making the place look pretty. If I'm lucky it stores home-baked delicious things, currently it has some brownies and rock cakes made by my Mum & gifted to me today...when it's full of cake, I'm a happy girl.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Allotment Goodies

My Mum has had an allotment for about four years. Sometimes she struggles to keep up with maintaining her plot, so she's given me a key. My daughter & I love to go down there and do the watering, which is the main thing she struggles with. In return, we get to pick some of the yummy produce. I forgot to take my camera down to the plot, I'll remember to take some pictures next time!

But I took some photos of the produce: beetroot, potatoes and huge blackberries. My daughter also loves to stand at the sink and wash the vegetables.

After we'd washed the veg, my daughter helped me make salmon fishcakes with the freshly dug potatoes. It's lovely for my daughter to see the produce being taken from the ground, prepared at home and eaten within hours of it coming off the allotment.

I also made a salad of grated raw beetroot, carrots mixed with lots of olive oil and sunflower seeds. It was all delicious!

I'm linking up with Country Kids on the Coombe Mill Blog.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Hand Embroidered Birthday Gift

My niece turned eighteen two weeks ago. I can't believe she's just finished her A'levels and will be choosing a university soon. She's grown into a creative, talented young lady who wants to become a photographer...we're all very proud of her.

I wanted to make a personal gift, something that had meaning to her. I love making handmade gifts, I don't always have the time, but I was determined to make time for this particular gift!

My niece drew me a picture way back when she was just six years old. I've always loved it, the expression on the cat's face and his little paw waving at me. I put it in a frame and it has been something I've looked at nearly everyday. It's moved around with us ever since from our flat in Bath, to our first home in Bristol & now onto our house in North Somerset.

I recently had an idea of transferring the image to fabric and making a piece of hand embroidery to give to her as a gift.

I put the project together over the weeks leading up to her birthday and I'm really pleased with the results. I decided to make it into a cushion cover, but it would also work stretched over a canvas to make a piece of wall art.

I'm pleased to say that my niece also loved the gift, although I had to show her the original to jog her memory...well, alot has happened in the twelve years since she drew it for me!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Storytelling on the Somerset Levels

A couple of years ago my Mum visited a garden on the Somerset Levels...she kept telling me what an amazing place it was & saying things like "I can't really describe the place, but you really need to visit it next time it's open". So when we heard that the annual 'open garden' event was happening, we jumped in the car and drove out onto the Somerset Levels to see what all the fuss was about.

Well, she was right. It is an amazing place & it is hard to describe...but I'll have a go. The owners of the main farmhouse have created an intriguing garden which covers about three acres of land. You move around the garden from one part to another, almost like moving from room-to-room in a house and you never quite know what's going to be around the corner...here are just some of the things we saw...

a metal UFO-type sculpture cum look-out post,

We saw compost toilets adorned with silk scarves and flowers,

a disused bus turned into a cosy home,

a beautiful artists studio,

an outside bath warmed only by a log fire underneath,

the best handmade metal swinging garden seat ever,

hammocks dotted about the place,

a cosy yurt in the orchard,

willow sculptures,

fairy doors into the woods,

nets draped in the trees for adults to climb into & bounce about like big kids in,

and a lake created by the owners complete with arched bridge leading out to an island in the middle.

All this was accompanied by the atmospheric sounds of Fiddlers on the Hoof who were strolling around the garden with their accordion and fiddle. Later on when we settled down for some storytelling outside the artist's studio, they bought out a harp to accompany the stories. The whole place was magical.

I think it's wonderful that the creative people who own this home open their doors to raise money for the local hospice. If they didn't, we wouldn't have had the chance to glimpse into the amazing, enchanting garden they have worked so hard to create.

I'm linking up with #countrykids...hope you've all had fun out & about this weekCountry Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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