Thursday, 28 April 2011

Last Chance and Life Changes

Hello and a Huge Welcome!!  
to my new followers!

It is so nice, I have suddenly been visited by quite a few new people who have also become followers, so thankyou for visiting and following, its lovely to have you here!

Peony about to flower

It also means that I (and you other visitors and followers!) then have the pleasure of discovering their lovely blogs, and there are so many busy and clever bloggers out there stitching and crocheting and felting and cooking and gardening and goodness knows what elsing - Phew!!!

Don't you just love this blogging business!!! 

Now my new followers may not know that there is a GIVEAWAY on this blog about to take place very soon!

TOMORROW in fact, so please don't be shy about entering the Giveaway just cos you're new!

The official deadline is MIDNIGHT tonight (although of course for those abroad it will be a different time!) so basically any comment left on the 4th March Royal Wedding post by the time I do the draw sometime tomorrow will be entered in the draw!

Lets not be too finicky about this!!

If you're there, you're in!!

Now I don't normally talk about my husband Mr Gillyflower (or Mr G for short) but its a funny old day here today as its the End of an Era.

You know, one of those huge milestones that occur every now and then in life where Life As You Know It will Never Be The Same Again.

And because of that I feel kind of sad and melancholy and odd and a bit nervous, for the years that have passed so quickly, and for the unknown situation in which it throws us.

The reason?
It is my husbands last day at work today after almost 25 years at the same place. He is taking early retirement, so as from tomorrow I will not be alone.


Things are going to get interesting around here.
He will find out what I do (or don't do) all day ;o
The greenhouse will not be MINE
The garden will not be MINE
The kitchen etc
Oh, you get the idea!


Anyway, it will be lovely for him to have the pressure taken off him as he has been travelling on the M25 twice daily for all those years, never getting home before 8pm at night due to pressure of work and evening committees, and he has carried the burden of a local authority's Finances for many of those years, so it will be lovely for him to relax and take things a bit easier.

Not that he's planning on doing nothing - as we have a teenager to get through college in a couple of years time, he will be doing contract work on temporary contracts for a few years, and maybe set up his own company doing small local business accounts, which we would do together as I am also a qualified accountant (although havent worked as one for 10 years now).

It also co-incides with me losing my little job as a fill-in Library Assistant, working when people were off sick or when they were short staffed, which I have enjoyed doing for the past 7 or 8 years - the libraries in our area are becoming self-service so many library assistants have been made redundant, including me.

So there are lots of options and opportunities ahead even though we are both now in our 50s (I had the Big One last year!) (waaaahhhh where did the time GO????)

Anyway, I'm sure that there will be many windows of opportunity for him

and new doors will open

Sorry, can't be serious even now!

But its kind of scary.

Sorry this has turned into a rather wordy and personal post!

So there we are
Life goes on differently from now on

And Logan gets a badly needed haircut next week!

Don't foget the giveaway!

Hope everybody enjoys the Royal Wedding celebrations tomorrow - what are you doing ?

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Open All Hours

Just a quick post to say I've finally popped a few things in my blog shop, Gillyflower's Vintage and Handmade Shop if you fancy a bit of late night browsing!

Not much in there yet, but am hoping to add to it over the next few weeks with a combination of "sale" items, where I just have a few things left of each type of item that I've been selling at Craft Fairs for the last year or two, such as flower pin cushions (in shop, 4 left), lavender sachets and hearts, bunting, applique door stops and a few other items.

And then I hope to have the newer items that I've been working on in the last year, using much more vintage fabric - at the moment the crazy patchwork lavender hearts I posted about a few weeks back are now in the shop (the ones on my header!)

I also would like to put in some vintage jewellery (have collected this for years!), vintage scarves, and vintage linens and fabrics over the next few weeks!

Hope you enjoy looking!

Monday, 25 April 2011

Car Boot Bargains and Blooms

Happy Easter Monday everyone!

I hope everybody had a lovely Easter Sunday yesterday.

Thankyou for all the lovely comments on my last post.

Poppy loved her bag, and put it to use straightaway. She rushed round the garden with her walker, bag attached, little book in it already, and joined in the easter egg hunt in the garden with her older sister Daisy.

No photos I'm afraid as I forgot to take the camera.

We took Logan to the Boot Fair yesterday, and he had a great time sniffing and greeting all the other dogs. We missed the best of the stalls as we got there late, and many sellers were starting to pack up.

But I still managed a pretty good haul for £10
(not including the minimal entry fee and ice cream for Bella!)

Traditional stoneware jar - I love these and already have two, but for 50p...... couldn't leave it behind now could I?

A beautiful vintage flask - now I have seen these in the pages of magazines such as Country livng and Country Homes and Interiors, and have seen new reproduction ones too, so I was thrilled to find this for £1.

It is such a beautiful pale turquoise, with a lovely pink blossom design

Something a little more prosaic! Have often looked at buying these but have been put off by the price, usually £8 or £9, and doubts as to whether they actually are any good, but for £2 a pair I thought I'd give them a whirl!

A beautiful pale blue and white Spode dinner plate - not that old but still very pretty

And a lovely little tea plate with a blue and red folk design, reminiscent of spongeware

I love this, and it looked old from the front but on turning it over it is a Johnson Bros design, Hearts and Flowers, and is dish washer proof! So no antique here!

Two plates for £5

A couple of books for £1

A brilliant design source book full of stencil designs from the 1918 and 1920 catalogues of a Chicago firm.

And this wonderful annual from the late 50s, aimed at 9 to 14 year olds, full of interesting facts and exciting stories as those lovely books always were - my daughter has already been enjoying it even though she is a thoroughly cool 16 year old - she always loves old books and has read many novels that her Grandma gave her from when she was a girl (gems like Jam Tomorrow, and numerous school days books), and my own books too ( such as those wonderful Mary Stewart adventures set abroad).

Wonderful illustrations!

And a little Prinknash jug for 50p - I love Prinknash studio pottery, set up in 1942 by monks at Prinknash Abbey when they discovered clay on their land, and I particularly love the simple shapes of the black lustre, deep grey shimmery jugs - I already have one the same design but made at a different time as the backstamp is different.

Sorry about the dust and marks - they both needed a wipe down before photos, but I was too impatient!

So that was my haul for the day - we all enjoy going, even my husband does these days,  ever since I picked up a pair of Victorian oil paintings last summer for £12, signed by a minor but listed RA artist.

We found a similar pair by the same artist sold at Christies a few years ago for £900............

So now he can't wait to get me there instead of the usual grumbling and moaning we used to put up with!

Suddenly lots of new colour in the garden with rhododendrons and azaleas coming out

The lovely red acer out the front has its new leaves

Columbines flowering everywhere, with dandelion fluff caught up amongst the blooms

Incidentally, the mass of floating fluff is seeding all over the soil in the little pots of new plants I have hardening off outside - little green seedlings all ready!!!!

So goodness knows how many dandelions we will get in the lawn as the grass is covered with fluff  like unmelted sleet - we will have to mow again to disturb it to try and get rid of it I think.

Have a sunny Easter Monday!

Edited to add: Royal Wedding Giveaway Cushion

If you haven't already left a comment and you want to enter the giveaway, don't forget to leave a comment on the Royal Wedding Giveaway post of the 4th March by Thursday 28 th April,12 midnight, for the Giveaway on the day of the Royal Wedding, the 29th April.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Poppy, Patchwork and Pets

Thanks for all your lovely comments on my last post!

Those cheesecake brownies really are worth a try, and, if they last that long, they are even better next day after being in an airtight tin as they go STICKY!!!!

Double Yummy!!!

I hope you can read the ingredients OK, please leave a comment if you can't and I'll type them up - was such a long post I took a short cut by taking a pic of the recipe.

We were driving out and about in the countryside yesterday and could see where the dandelion "fluff" was coming from - for miles around here on every grass verge and in many a field (including the enormous fields where the car boot is on tomorrow and BH Mon - atishoo!!) all you can see is a sea of yellow dandelion heads, and of course those that have gone to seed - and there's a lot more to come judging by all the yellow heads, so its not the ones in your garden that are the problem, it's the millions in the surrounding fields and verges.

So I guess it might be mainly a countryside thing (although my sister lives in a town and is getting them too!)

Still, white dandelion fluff is better than the flying ant days which we usually get a few times in the late spring/summer!

See? Empty chair!!!

And just in case you got the wrong idea from my pics and you think I spend all day lolling around in the garden with my feet up, I can assure you that chance would be a fine thing!! ;0

 It is usually for a treasured 5 or 10 mins once or twice a day with a cuppa and the photos were spread over several days ( unless I am sewing )!

I leave the real lolling for the furry babies

As anyone in my family will tell you, I cannot sit idle for longer than a few minutes (unless I have sewing or a good book or magazine........;0  ) without having to get up and do something that's caught my eye in the house or garden, and then one thing leads to another, so don't be envious - its not as leisurely as it might look!
 (and of course I leave out mention of all the boring housework, vacuuming, washing up, cooking, hanging out washing, grass cutting, visit from the oil boiler man (the tank is leaking, eek!!! and oww!! thats going to be expensive, a new tank needed ) trips to the vet/dentist/shops etc that has gone on in between the treasured "sits" this week!!! )

Footnote - it is not my foot!!! It is not I who is lolling, it is she who studies!

But I have made time for an important project that has to be ready for tomorrow afternoon when I see my sister and her family.

My little niece Poppy is 2 1/2 years old, and cannot walk unaided yet as she has Cerebral Palsy.

 But she can race around with her walker, and as she starts nursery school for a couple of afternoons a week after Easter, she needs a little bag to hang from her frame so she can carry things.

So this is what I've made her.

She likes butterflies and wanted her name on it, so I've made the bag reversible.

There is cheerful patchwork on one side (both front and back including butterfly fabric) 

and a bright fabric for the other

and her name embroidered in turquoise chain stitch on a pocket( for small things such as crayons).

It has four separate handles that attach by velcro so you can hang the bag over the frame. I just need to stitch on the four velcro strips which is why I cant show a photo of the straps!

The good news is that even though she can't walk unaided yet, Poppy's muscle tone is improving so she should one day be able to walk without her frame.

I have also started a new project in the evenings

these are tiny hexagons which are being hand stitched together

and will form the centre of a cushion

You can see Logan's toys strewn about the hall in the background!

And am plodding on with quilting Bellas Birthday Quilt

I WILL finish this soon, but it is so large as I have made a double or nearly king size one as I knew she would be wanting a larger bed - she had a single when I started it a couple of years back, and now has a double!

I wanted to make her one that she could take away to uni and use as an adult.

It is further advanced than above, which was taken a few days before her birthday when I finally laid it all out for layering and basting, a mammoth task which took several days on and off to complete.

not yet basted and quilted

 I have now hand quilted a fair amount of it "in the ditch" but need to put in more detailed quilting along the long joining strips and bind the edges.

not yet basted and quilted

Well, I need to get outside now and get on with gardening jobs - finish mowing the lawn, plant out the sweet peas and sow more seeds amongst other things.

 We are at home today (yippeee!) although maybe out to friends for dinner tonight, but no need to go out as went out yesterday to do all the necessary food shops, and are out all day tomorrow car booting in the morning and visiting relations in the afternoon.

I do like pottering at home - can put on scruffy comfy clothes and get on with whatever jobs take my fancy!!!!

Hope you have  a wonderful Easter weekend too!!!