Monday, 6 March 2017

Signs of Spring

It actually stopped raining at the weekend long enough for me to clean the exterior of the conservatory, do a spot of garden tidying and hang out the washing.  Hoorah.

There's no doubt that Spring is almost upon us.  My Countryside Companion  informs me that this is the month when bats, dormice (sadly in declining numbers nowadays) and hedgehogs awaken from their winter sleep, toads and frogs spawn and spiders reappear...not in my house I hope! 

As the weather was mostly miserable at the weekend, it gave me a chance to knock up a card for this week's Less Is More challenge - Mainly Teal.

Items used: Cosmic Shimmer mica powders
Hobby Art sentiment
Floral stamps - freebie with magazine ??
Papers and gem from my stash

I've also been busy with crochet and my blanket is coming on nicely, which is just as well as I've a feeling I will be making a few more for feline friends.  Recently, after chatting to a colleague who fosters cats for Cats Protection I decided that I'd like to get involved and now several weeks later have my first ward, named Sandy.  He's an old boy of seventeen years and I'll be looking after him until he's adopted and moves on to his forever home.

Following the purchase of my mobile home in France last August I decided it wasn't sensible to get another cat as I'll be going out there on a regular basis. (Long time readers will remember Prudy, my beloved moggy who died almost two years ago)  But a house isn't the same without a cat and fostering seems a great way to help a charity, it's also personally rewarding and a perfect solution for me.  Luckily, Sandy is a gentle old boy and after three days of skirting around me and disappearing under the table every time I went near, he's decided that I'm not a bad sort and is now a regular fixture on my lap. Let's hope he finds a permanent new home soon.

Also linking up with
  Maggie at Normandy Life for Mosaic Monday
Crafty Addicts - Clean & Simple Anything Goes

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Back In The Game

After checking out Less Is More's current challenge this morning I scrolled back through my blog posts to discover it is no less than 14 months since I last entered.  Mojo was sadly lacking last year and although I did make a few cards, I think my mind was otherwise occupied, certainly in the latter part of the year, by all things French.  However, recently a friend of mine who co-leases a local gift shop asked if she could sell some of my cards there and this opportunity has re-awakened my creativity. 

I've made several cards similar to this for the gift shop, some with flowers and others with butterflies and I think this one fulfills the brief this week at LIM where the theme is Alphabet.  The butterfly was die-cut through several pages for a layered effect and the embossed words on the circular mat were distressed with an emery board.  I'm sure this idea was initially inspired by Pinterest or another website, so I'm not claiming the design was my own.

Butterfly die - Sissix
Scallop die - Spellbinders
Bazzill card stock
Cuttlebug embossing folder
Italian paperback book purchased at charity shop
Penny Black sentiment
All other items from my stash

I'm also linking up with
 Creative Inspirations - Anything Goes 
Stampin' Royalty - Dies

This renewed creative phase has also led to me picking up my crochet hook again.  I've been wondering what to do with the remainder of mum's yarn stash and after untangling a huge mess and rewinding into balls I decided to make another blanket for the local hospice where she died. 
 It's a crazy old colour scheme, but cheerful and as it's just a huge granny square there's no concentration required so I can crochet away while watching telly.

Prior to the blanket I whipped up a couple of face/dishcloths to stash bust some cotton yarn...honestly, it's in danger of taking over the sitting room!

Thanks to all of you who commiserated on my recent speeding offence.  I am pleased to report that I have got away with attending a Drivers Awareness Course instead of receiving a penalty, unfortunately it's in Dorset, as I live in Sussex but hey it's still better than three points on my licence.   

Hope the sun is shining wherever you are this weekend.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Five On Friday - Charity Shop Spends

The sun graced us with it's presence this week, albeit very briefly, so I took the opportunity to dash outside with my camera and draped my recent finds around the garden... it's still too dark inside for a decent photo shoot for my liking.  I've bought a few things recently, you can tell me what you think in the comments below!

 Boden shirt bought in Lewes, pricey county town of East Sussex.  I didn't try it on, although it's size 14 and I am generally a 10/12, Boden garments are usually on the small side so I took a gamble.  It is slightly too large but I can probably get away with it...or get it taken in. 

I bought this Next jacket because I liked the colour (more rasberry than the tomato of this pic!) and was fed up with looking like Drab Mary in my khaki parka.  I realize it looks boring in this photo, but once on it doesn't look too bad. I crocheted a flower brooch to add some interest, which I've forgotten to photograph. 
 I paid £4.99 but don't ask me where. 

 I stumbled across this silk Chinese robe (never worn, still with labels attached) in Dr. Barnado East Grinstead and thought it would be ideal to take to my holiday home in France.

I love the vibrant colour and embroidery and couldn't believe they were only asking £2.99.  As I was paying, the bloke behind the counter rolled his eyes and remarked ' I didn't price it!'

 I also found this French shirt in Dr. Barnado, again never worn.  The contrast fabric on the cuffs, collar and placket drew me to it, although Lord knows what I'll wear with it.  A bit of an impulse buy at £4.99!

Last up is this denim bag that I spotted just as I was leaving the Cancer Research shop, again in EG.  I've been after a denim bag for ages and although this was not really what I had in mind  it was in good condition and the right size.  Originally it had a label with the brand name on, which I thought was slightly mannish, (is it a man bag?) so I removed it and added a crocheted flower.  It's very roomy and holds camera, brolly, purse and woman stuff with ease.  I think I paid around a fiver.

As you can see, charity shop prices here in the south east are pricier than further north, but now and again there are still bargains to be had and I've the Scout and Guide jumble sale to look forward to next month...the excitement in my life just now, knows no bounds!
Found anything exciting in the chazzas yourself recently?   

Linking up with Amy for Five on Frday

Friday, 27 January 2017

Far from the Madding Crowd...

...in a county that bears villages named Piddlehinton, Shitterton and Scratchy Bottom, two old friends met for a long weekend and a very overdue catch up. 
 UK readers will know that it's Dorset I visited, more specifically the county town Dorchester, as it was a convenient spot to meet my friend V,  halfway between her home in Cornwall and mine in Sussex.

We stayed conveniently in the town centre and after non-stop chat over pizza and wine on our first night, we awoke eager to explore Dorchester.  First stop was a charity shop...(where else?) but we found nothing to tempt us and keen to get out of the Baltic like temperatures we headed for the museum.

 Dorset County Museum was established in 1845 to collect and preserve historic objects which were under threat of destruction by the building of the railways and until the late 1870's the artefacts were housed in ordinary dwellings.  At this time, collections had grown so large that it was decided to construct a purpose-designed building and the Dorchester museum opened in 1884.

 The galleried Victorian Hall displays paintings, sculpture, archaeological finds and many items of local historical interest, the floor covered at one time by these wonderful mosaics, bears only a few left in tact.

Of course, one cannot mention Dorchester without thinking of  the novelist and poet Thomas Hardy who was born, raised in and inspired by Dorset.  Hardy captured in fiction the everyday lives of common folk and the land they inhabited and in 1910 he was awarded the Order of Merit by King George V for services to literature.  

The front cover of a weekly publication which serialised Hardy's latest writings.

A replica of the Dorset Ooser which featured in 19th century local folk culture and was used to sometimes scare people for practical jokes.  However, it's main recorded purpose was to humiliate those who were deemed to have behaved in an immoral way!

After a couple of hours in the perishing cold museum we sought refuge in the nearest coffee shop and after a restorative flat white we headed back to the hotel and later enjoyed a pub meal and yet more wine and chat.

Sunday saw blue skies and after breakfast we headed to a well known market just across from our hotel.
On the way we passed through Brewery Square, a newly regenerated area where once the brewery Eldridge Pope was located.  The old brewery buildings are now being revamped into an arts facility, this redevelopment is still ongoing but the square with it's newly appointed fountains and sculpture is still a very attractive place to sit, eat and people-watch. 

We soon discovered that the 'market' was mainly a car boot sale but no matter, we enjoyed poking around the stalls and chatting to the stall holders.  It was bitterly cold again that day and buyers were fairly thin on the ground.

I bought a couple of The Observer's reference books from this seller for 50p each.  These seem to be quite collectable now, I've seen them in chazzas and junk shops for a fiver.

We had a brilliant, albeit very cold weekend in Dorchester and it was so lovely to see my friend again after five long years, the only thing to slightly marr it, was the arrival yesterday of a speeding ticket from the Dorset Police!  £100 fine and three points on my licence. Bugger.

Hope your luck this week has been better?

Monday, 2 January 2017

It Only Takes A Camera To Change her Mind

It's been around a year since I last put in a personal appearance so I thought it was time to show myself and besides, Tania said she wanted to see me in my new-to-me waistcoat.

This was taken on Boxing Day.  I went to see family in Kent and thought I should wear something vaguely festive.  Red is a favourite with me at any time of year. 

It's a real palaver trying to get a few snaps without your own personal photographer!  The sun was bright so the light was good, but at that time of day it created shadows, of me, the tripod and camera... it also caused me to squint. 

 Trying to get a close up by remote control is a mare.  I positioned the tripod badly, so in some shots I've lost the top of my head, then the remote control thing played up and the shutter closed before I was in shot.
The bloody thing was so temperamental ..... probably down to inactivity in previous months, I nearly gave up !  

Finally with sunnies in place, I got some snaps that weren't too bad.

Attempting all of this whilst trying to avoid the scrutiny of the neighbours so they don't think that you are a narcissistic fool is no mean feat I can tell you!  Now you understand why I rarely feature on this blog!

Welsh tapestry waistcoat- charity shop £4.99, ancient flared jeans - George at Asda
 polo neck jumper - Debenhams, Clogs by Lotta, Leaf earrings gift from Dad, ditto bracelet.

Linking with Patti and Visible Monday
 and wishing you all good health, happiness and prosperity in 2017.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Crazy Camden

Working twelve hour days during the winter is no good for taking photographs I've found.  It's dark when I go to work, it's dark when I return.  Hence this post has had to wait until I had a day off, to snap my latest chazza scores.   But before all that, let me tell you about last weekend.

It was an early start last Sunday as I was off with a friend, to a vintage fair in the Big Smoke.   (London, for non-UK readers)   Camden was our destination and the venue of Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair where none other than Kinky Melon were trading.

Vintage Vixen resplendent in 70's lurex 

 It was brilliant to catch up with Vix again and to meet Jon, her talented bloke.  I checked out their vintage stock and bought myself a gent's titfer. I also came home with this Vendéen souvenir scarf, depicting my favourite area of France, a lovely thoughtful gift from Vix as I'd admired it on one of her blog posts.

 We chatted to several traders who reported disappointing sales due to poor footfall, including this striking lady who makes exquisite cushions from vintage fabrics.

Her stitchery was impeccable.

And cop a load of this gorgeous creature who was deliberating about the fab velvet housecoat as her other half wasn't keen on it.  As for myself, I was gutted that a stunning Welsh tapestry coat that I'd tried on had swamped me, therefore my only other purchase was a £2 green scarf. 

After visiting every stall and a quick cuppa, we headed out into the craziness that is Camden
where we stumbled upon a Mad Hatter's Tea Party....
and an abundance of paintings, street art and sculptures of Amy Winehouse, surely one of  the area's most famous former residents.  

 Camden, situated in the north west of the city, is home to London's most diverse and eclectic markets, where artisans and street food traders create a youthful vibe.  We strolled into the Stables Market and wandered among the labyrinth of stalls where the convivial ambience enveloped us.

We treated ourselves to a pricey cup of mulled wine... (it was bloody good and worth every penny) before wending our way back to Victoria and catching the very overcrowded train home. 

In other news, also last week I managed to hit the charity shops.  The chazza gods were benevolent as I managed to score a Welsh tapestry waistcoat, a leather handbag and a vintage hooded corduroy jacket which although grubby, came good after a cool wash in the machine.
  The quality modern leather handbag which looks brand new, was a steal at £2 and even came with a free panty liner!

 Afterwards I dashed around Aldi to do the weekly shop and was dismayed to see aisle upon aisle of ghastly Christmas tat ....but no sodding cauliflowers! And I was intensely annoyed yesterday to hear the interminable xmas tunes had already started on the radio...and we've yet three more weeks to endure them
Is it only me, or does anyone else think...it's just too early??