About Me

My photo
antrim, antrim, Ireland
Hello and welcome to my blog. If you like flowers and gardens, housey stuff, food and banter, then this is the place for you. I am a decorative artist, florist and maker of things. I sell painted furniture, plants and crafts, through a local retail shop, in my native Ireland, and wedding flowers from home. I am married to a lovely patient man and have a smashing little girl. I blog for the fun of it. Thank you for listening.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Hibernation

photo from here.



I was asked by  global real estate firm Douglas Elliman, if I would write a post about making one's home cosy for winter. I was delighted as this is my kind of topic and I had been thinking of making a few changes to my own living room, and was spurred on to do it!

I don't know about you but once Christmas is over and the decorations are down the place can seem a little drab and dreary, with all the sparkle packed away for another year. I know that one can then become a bit obsessed with Spring, constantly wishing for it. Let's face it, certainly here in the U.K. we could have a few more months of cold, wet, windy weather. So why not embrace it, unleash the 'hygge', make a cosy corner for reading, listening to music, sewing or knitting. Surround yourself with comfort and indulge in a little pampering. Have candles at the ready, something lovely to eat, a warming drink, something inviting to read, or just look at, and a comfortable chair with a cosy throw. I'm ready to hibernate, are you?





Three years ago I felt inspired to give my living room a French ski chalet feel, I painted the wooden floor to look like stone slabs, and painted the chimney breast with a pattern to look like wallpaper, with woodland animals, Christmas trees and chalets. My family thought I had lost the plot and couldn't think what it would be like once Christmas was over. I however, love Christmas and snowy, wintry places. My room faces North East and doesn't get any sun until the evening, so I rather enjoy having it cosy, the pattern on the chimney is quite subtle and so doesn't take over. The rest of the walls were colourwashed using Autentico's chalk paint in a warm grey colour called Dolphin. I still enjoy the way the room is decorated but just wanted to ring the changes with a little bit of warmth and depth.
 I have had a colour in my mind for a long time that I wanted to add to the room but was finding  it difficult to pin down on a colour chart. I wanted the colour of old leather books, tan, but faded, or the colour of whisky or brandy in a glass with light coming through it. I do like to make life difficult for myself.

image from Ralph Lauren

image from here
I decided the best way was to colourwash the walls. I mixed my own wash using powder pigment  in raw sienna, burnt sienna and vegetable black, then I added a little chalk paint in Cappucino to bind it and a lot of water. I used a large brush to paint it on with and then a cloth to get the cloudy effect. It took 4 layers to get the right effect, but it is quite quick to do, as you need to work fast to prevent getting a hard edge. I was very happy with the finished result an it immediately made my room feel more cosy. I decided to wash 2 lampshades that were very white.



My pretty lady has her best beads on!
My furniture was all grey so it still tied in with the new scheme apart from a bookcase which was blue/grey on the outside. I painted this with Rustoleum Chalk Paint in Flint. My room was now beginning to take shape. I just needed certain ingredients to make it more cosy. I added some candlelight which always softens and warms up your surroundings. The next step was to light the fire, a big hit with everyone, including the 2 dogs. There was a smattering of snow outside, but we were warm as toast inside.

I previously had silver things in my room. I always enjoy something shiny to reflect the light, but felt that gold or brass would now look better. I know its's not terribly fashionable but I have inherited a love of brass from my mother.

I have a favourite painting that my sister did a few years ago in the naiive style of an elegant country house, it makes a cosy collection on  the mantelpiece with other houses.

A faux fur throw on the chair comes in handy when the fire is fading.
Another cosy trick is to bring a little of the outside in. As the weather is cold and blustering ouside enjoy some spring bulbs inside, and something green always gives your room more life and energy.




Scent is an important element too and I am not yet ready to give up the smell of my home made pot pourri containing dried oranges, anise, cloves, cinnamon for something lighter and fresher just yet.



I hope you have enjoyed taking a look at my home and it's ever evolving interiors. The sofa is my next job, you will note it has been safely hidden from view. It needs to have a makeover. I really would love a new one, but with a dog and a puppy I don't see that happening any time soon. I plan to make a washable cover from a natural linen and to change the cushions for something plainer. 





Wishing you all a cosy winter, in anticipation of warmer days ahead. Linda xx








Monday, 9 January 2017

Flowers always



Flowers bring me joy. How about you?

It has been almost a year since I posted and I don't know if there is anyone out there, but I am ready to blog again. I am not sure what it is that makes a person stop blogging, just too busy, burned out, or lacking something to say. I am not sure what made me stop, perhaps a combination of all these things.
I do however enjoy blogging, sharing ideas, discussion, reading other people's blogs and making connections. I hope you will have me back?

These are some simple flower arrangements I did throughout last year. I am really looking forward to seeing things appear once again in my garden,as there is not too much going on at the moment. I love simple posies arranged in jugs and jars scattered hither and thither, making me stop in my tracks to take in the beauty and scent.






Sunday, 7 February 2016

Foolproof flower arranging

Lovely Helleborus from the garden.
 I have playing about with my new acquisition, a little milk crate with six tiny bottles. It really makes arranging flowers so simple, just a single stem in each bottle and hey presto!

Simply Gypsophila.

Narcissi from the garden with a wooden mushroom.
Do you have a favourite container for arranging flowers in your home, I would love to know about it?

Hoping you all have a fulfilling and fun-filled week, love Linda xx.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Focus





A deliberately out of focus picture, don't worry your eyes are not going funny.











Belated Happy New Year to you all! I took a little break from blogging to try and focus on what I wanted to do, what direction to go in. I don't know if it's just me, but finding focus is a difficult task. There is so much stimulation all around and it is so easy to become distracted, and go off at a tangent.

I recently came across a fabric and quilt designer whose work I love. You can find her website here.
She said that she no longer has New Year's resolutions, but chooses a word to focus on throughout the year. I thought this was a great idea, especially for anyone who is creative. I thought I would do the same and had chosen the word RESTORE, but have decided to change it to FOCUS, as I feel this is what is important for me.

I haven't found it yet, but certain things are beginning to become clearer. I would love to hear from you my dear readers, as I know you are all very creative and busy people, to discover how you focus on what is important for your lives.

I took on the challenge from august wren artist Jennifer Orkin Lewis, to do a quick painting a month. I enjoyed the first one so much I decided to do one a day. It is a long time since I have sat down to paint just for the joy of it and not for a specific project. I realise how rusty I am, and probably a little uptight, it will be interesting to see how it develops over the year. Here are a few of my favourite ones.



So if you can bear it, would you join me on my voyage of discovery and help me to find focus? With much love, Linda xx

Friday, 9 October 2015

Diversion


Our normal route to school has been really disrupted by roadworks this past two weeks.It can be stressful when running late and not realising there are changes in the route. After the initial shock and getting seriously lost once or twice I decided to view it as a bit of a 'magical mystery tour'. The weather has mostly been very autumnal, crisp and sunny with the odd misty day. I always feel invigorated on such days, tingling with anticipation.

So we set out deciding to enjoy our new route with all its added attractions. I love country cottages and gate lodges, and have found one or two beauties to fall in love with. I always vowed if I ever came in to a fortune I would spend it, going around the countryside and rescuing all those old tumble down houses that have fallen out of favour.


When I first saw this old thatched cottage I almost cried. I approached two lovely barns at the back of it first of all, there was a tree (a fruit tree I think) near the barns with four or five cows, grazing beneath it. It was such a lovely sight and reminded me of those old Staffordshire flat back figures you see with sheep or cows under a tree. The cottage wasn't visible at this stage until I drove around the corner and looked back. I love the green and mustard paint around the windows and the whitewashed walls, the lace curtains still hanging. I wonder who lived in this cottage and why it fell into disrepair.

This sweet little gatehouse is one of a pair, both sadly in need of some love.



Apologies for the quality of this photo, it was snapped rather hastily. This beautiful gatelodge looks like it is very well cared for with it's welcoming red door. I do hope the owners of these homes don't mind me sharing them here as I only mean to point out their beauty.

When I got home I discovered another beautiful thing in my own garden, our oak tree, which we have had for around 10 years has got acorns!


Thinking about this diversion, made me see that life is a lot like that too, you think you are on a certain course and something happens to make you change direction, you think it's all wrong because it's not what you are used to, but when you open your eyes, you begin to see that this route has many possibilities, it may be right, it may not but it changes the way you see things, and that is good.

I hope you enjoyed coming on this little diversion with me, and I hope you have many wonderful diversions of your own. Have a thrilling weekend, love Linda xx

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Indian Summer ???

I had a friend come for coffee today, it was so dark I had to put the lamps on, and definitely a little 'nippy' so the central heating went on, and candles were lit for effect, so there is no Indian Summer here.


I do love it when visitors come and the house is all cleaned, and the flowers are arranged.

And then afterwards, when they have left and the house is empty and still, clean and sweet smelling....bliss! And my kind visitor brought me a present too, how thoughtful, a lovely miniature rose. I am blessed today! How do you feel about having visitors? Does it stress you out, or do you take it in your stride?

 I would have absolutely hated it, in days gone by, had I been a Society Lady
and people just called in to take a nosey at my house and eat all I had to offer, but then I suppose one had servants to keep the place in order and make and serve the food, and it was an amusement. I once saw in a magazine a brilliant hand painted sign warning people not to stare in at the windows, but to ring for the servant. Can you imagine?

Thank you all so very much for your most touching messages on my last post, it is lovely to be back. Wishing you all a very happy weekend, love Linda xx

Sunday, 30 August 2015

To Post or not to Post.




I have been struggling for quite a while now about whether to post in my blog or not. Because it is linked with my business and my business is not going in the direction I had planned, I would feel phoney or fake posting that every thing in the garden is rosy.

Now I know I have been foolish, my business does not define me, I am still a creative person, I still count, I can still participate.Life is NOT perfect, for me, or for anyone else, but it is how we deal with challenges, changes, difficulties, that make us interesting people with tales to tell.

I have a loving family, a comfortable home, a pretty garden, good friends and I can turn my hand to most things, so surely I can find something to post about? So it's time to 'get real' and get on with it!

 Sorry I have been away for so long. I do hope the lovely friends I have made since I started blogging will hang in there with me. I so enjoy, their comments, input and support. I also love to see how you all tackle your lives and am blown away by how clever, creative, funny, moving and charming you all can be. I never really 'blogged' for business, but because I enjoyed how it made me feel, particularly when kind readers responded, so here's to the beginning of a new chapter! Much love, Linda xx