Thursday, 28 April 2011

A right royal knees up

A royal wedding brings out all the things that are good about being British. Union Jack bunting, Victoria sponge with cream and strawberries, cucumber sandwiches, Pymms and lemonade, scones, cup cakes commemorative biscuits tins, fine bone china tea sets and of course a lovely cup of tea.

In 1981 we had a right old royal knees up and celebrated in style with a street party. There was a fancy dress competition, long trestle tables lining the streets, the older generation in deck chairs and a Punch and Judy Show. The street was decked out in bunting and Union Jack flags. I love both checked table clothes and gingham. I clearly remember running in and out of peoples houses, all the mums either in the kitchen, preparing food or in the lounge watching the Royal Wedding on the TV, the Dads rigging up complicated wiring systems from the electrical supplies in our houses to speakers and lights in the street. A wonderful memory of a fairy tale princess wedding, running around wildly excited and being allowed to stay up way past dark.

The design on the flag is just a print out of the beautiful Accessorize flags which are sadly sold out, but roses added to the Union Jack is just the ticket.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Time for a holiday

With the sun in the sky, the blossom on the trees and a feeling of new beginnings, it is time for a holiday. A change and a rest are most definitely called for after such a sad and difficult couple of years. I have a month off work and the support I need to make changes in my working life, I've created a studio at home and opened two on-line shops, so I am ready to turn my life around.

If life is to be a good one, then I shall spend my time doing the things that truly make me happy.

Through writing my blog, I have discovered a fabulous handmade loving community and marketplace, like minded people who love what they make and are ever so friendly.

Ridgeway Cottage Treasures Etsy Shop

I haven't sold anything yet apart from one handmade card, but I have lots of ideas and am quite pleased with my hand painted knitting needles.

Today is the start of the good things to come and at last I feel optimistic about the future.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Hop to it

'Hop to it' is such a wonderful idiom. It was very much favoured by my Dad and often took literally by my brother and I. For me it is quite symbolic and reminds me so of laughing in the spring sunshine as we hopped up and down freshly cut grass as the laundry on the line blew in the wind and even funnier to get caught in a sheet. As a mum, I am often required to watch Charlie's newly acquired hopping skills. There are a great number of variations, the latest being hopping down the step.

You can imagine the joy I felt when I saw this weeks CSI Easter Challenge was entitled 'Hop to it' and immediately knew which of many current projects I would like to enter. My latest inspiration is the truly amazing Aimee Ray and her beautiful embroidery. I particularly like her 'hop in your step' mini quilt featured in the book Pretty Little Mini Quilts, which I have attempted to copy with a few of my own individual variations on the original design.

I'm quite pleased with how it turned out and it does really seem that the more you practice, the better you get.


Monday, 11 April 2011

Bluebell Woods

Every year I look forward to the bluebells coming out. We watch them right from the moment the shoots poke through the ground. We watch them and wait. There is a rather large clump, that runs along the back of our neighbours garage, we look at it every day. So many flowers are my favourite, but bluebells would definately be in the top 10 and in the early morning sun on a glorious spring day like today, nothing could really be more beautiful.

As a young child, I lived in a small village in the green belt. It had a wood named Bluebell Wood. In my memory it is the most enchantingly delightful place ever, filled with happy memories of walks with my grandparents, father and the various dogs my family have owned. It's where I leant to climb trees, played hide and seek and really appreciate nature through the seasons.

Bluebell Woods, Seer Green, Buckinghamshire

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Tea from the allotment

It really has been rather warm the last couple of days. The sun has been shining, there are more dandelions out than Christopher Nibble and all of his guinea pig friends could ever eat and everything is growing. I 've had my deckchair out and watered the garden. It is glorious.

I hadn't been to the allotment for a while so it was with a mixture of fear and excitement that I ventured up there on my bike this afternoon. The patch I dug ready for the onion sets needed weeding and digging.There were of course weeds galore and plenty of work to do, but all was not doom and gloom. The leeks are practically prize winners by my standards, there are flowers on the broad beans and there was plenty of purple sprouting despite the pigeons living off it throughout the winter. The highlight of my visit however was the asparagus. Weeding the asparagus bed is one of the more exciting of allotment jobs. As I careful dug out the grass and dandelions, I saw the whitish purple shoots just below the ground and above the ground there were enough spears for tea. So along with the leeks, purple sprouting broccoli, chard, kale and baby spinach  (self sewn from allow spinach to go to seed at the end of each season), I was able to make a stir fry spring vegetable dish for tea with new season stewed rhubarb for pudding. A whole meal from my allotment at the beginning of April. I think I might be getting the hang of growing your own.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Mother's Day Flowers

Especially for all those who love flowers and those who love their mothers, their grandmothers or being a mother.

All these photos where taken today at the magnificent Lullingstone Castle. I was fortunate enough to go on a guided tour by the charismatic Tom Hart Dyke. Some people are just so inspiring. He survived a horrific kidnapping ordeal by guerrillas in the notorious Darien Gap, on the border of Panama and Colombia whilst hunting for wild orchids. He was held captive for nine months, under constant treat and when he feared he was to loose his life he sketched what would be his dream garden.  He returned to his family home to create The World of Gardens.  A truly amazing man who credited his Granny for his love of plants and the packet of carrot seeds she gave him at age 3.

Happy Mother's Day