About Me

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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.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Lucky Buggers!

 Dear readers, I hope you are not offended by the title of my post? Let me explain....my sister-in-law has some good friends who have a family motto 'aren't we lucky buggers!' When they sit down to a lovingly prepared meal they raise their glasses and proclaim how lucky they are. This has always amused me, and greatly appealed to me. I think the family that can be grateful for small mercies and simple pleasures, is a long way towards making the most of life, and surely that is what it is all about?

I feel very much the 'lucky bugger', in having just returned from a lovely relaxing week in Corfu. My husband saw the holiday on Trip Advisor. I normally feel the urge to get my oar in, to be quality controller, researcher and general pain in the ass. This time I decided I would trust my man and to take 'whatever' comes and be grateful for it. It paid off big time! This year I was able to relax from day one, which NEVER happens. We all enjoyed the relaxed manner of the Greek people, the beauty and authenticity of the island and great food at sensible prices. We loved where we stayed, which was small and family run, clean and very friendly. I think we may go back. I am back feeling refreshed and ready to go again.
A beautiful looking hotel or villa we spied whilst out walking.

A monastery with Mouse Island behind.

A very beautiful statue of Achilles.

Bouganvillea in a beautiful Monastery.

Stunning views after a slightly scary coach journey.

Paul enjoying a beer!

It's good to be back. I am looking forward to catching up with you all . With love, Linda xx

My favourite snapshot, Allium growing wild.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Romantic Wedding Part Two.

The Reception of Kara and Niall's Wedding was held here , a beautiful Georgian Estate in Limavady, in a pretty white marquee in the old walled garden.

The entrance to the walled garden flanked by roses. Although the owners of this beautiful place still live here, a party of 16 fortunate guests can stay in the main house. I sadly didn't get to see inside, but if you click on the link above you will see how special it is. The mother of the bride told me that the Housekeeper really took special care of them, and they felt really pampered. (So much more personal than a hotel).

The marquee is all white and looks lovely even before the finishing touches. Kara had a 'World' theme for the tables, with a lovely big map at the entrance to show guests where they are to be seated. She had a sweet table for children and the young at heart with cute little bags as keepsakes. There was a Wishing tree so that guests could write a little message on a paper heart and hang it on the tree, and afterwards they will be put into a book to keep. There was a photo booth with fun props, to make fun and memorable photos. All very well thought out by the bride and groom, but I am sure worth the extra effort.

The flowers for the tables were simple hand-tied arrangements placed in jugs and matched the brides bouquet.

An old milk churn from my garden with a chalkboard added and some amazing blue delphiniums.

White hydrangea in a tole planter decorate the prop table.

My flower cart from the shop had a little wedding makeover, doesn't she look lovely?

A few props from home and the shop to help set the scene.

The quotes you see scattered about where from Leigh and Stuart's Wedding, where they were part of the table numbers, but it was great to see them being used again as they are so romantic and fitting.

A little posy and scented candle for the bathrooms.

Finally, this is nothing to do with the wedding, but I thought you would like it. A beautiful old table, on it's way somewhere. It is probably yew or sycamore and was perhaps made on the estate, isn't it gorgeous?

Thank you dear readers for stopping by. This may be the last post for a week or two as I am off to Corfu, seeking rest and relaxation! Love Linda x

Friday, 27 June 2014

A little posy...fit for a Queen?

I just couldn't wait to tell you this! A friend of mine was going to Hillsborough Castle for a Garden Party, to meet the Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. She rang asking me was there any possibility I could do her a little posy, to present to the Queen. I had no car, very little time,...(think)... thank goodness for my garden and my mum's beautiful scented yellow roses, a colour we know the Queen is partial to.

 I added some lovely pale pink roses called Capitain John Ingram and a darker pink one called Zephrine Drouhin, sadly I do not know what variety my mum's rose is. I put a little bit of hydrangea in there, campanula for colour, and lavender, sage and jasmine for fragrance.

My friend did not know if she would be able to give them to the Queen or not, because of  security issues etc. Because I have been busy with a wedding I hadn't heard if she had managed to present them or not.
Joy of joys the Queen eventually got the posy and was heard to remark on the beautiful fragrance.

Well, I am cock a hoop, over the moon and so very chuffed, this has made my day!!!!

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Romantic Wedding.

So the Wedding Day has finally arrived! This photo was taken at the place the reception is to be held the day before and as you can see it's raining! I was hoping and praying that the clouds would get it all out of their system on Wednesday and give us a lovely sunny day Thursday, but sadly that was not to be. However, although windy and cloudy, it didn't rain.

As promised I will let you see the work I did and the flowers we chose. When Kara first came to see me, she was quite clear that she did not want formal flowers, no roses, no lillies. She liked a simple hand-tied arrangement, that looked as though it had just been picked from the garden. We were on the same wavelength straight away. Kara had been to another wedding I had done for Leigh and Stuart, and she loved the quirkiness of Leigh's wedding, all her personal touches and vintage vignettes. We were actually able to use some of Leigh's lovely quotes, which she had as table numbers, in a different way.
She also knew what colours she wanted, which is a big help when planning what flowers to use. She wanted a mix of purple, blue and pink.

When I go to the wholesaler to pick up my order I always feel a little nervous and also excited about the choice of flowers, but when I go in and can pick my order out from all the others, a sense of relief floods over me. I bring them home, strip the stems and condition the flowers by placing up to their necks in buckets of water. This makes sure that the flowers get a good long drink and therefore last longer. I have to say, when I see them all in the buckets, I wish I could just place buckets around the wedding, and not arrange them at all, because they look so perfect to me as they are.
I have blue hydrangea. purple delphiniums, lavender, lilac stock, pink astilbe, astrantia ,palest pink sweetpea,
lilac freesia, pink peonies, blue nigella, ammi, ferns, rosemary, purple eustoma, blue agapanthus and pink gypsophila. The gardeners and flower lovers among you will know that these flowers together will create an intoxicating scent. It really did, my car smelt like heaven when I was transporting them. The only thing missing to my mind was some old-fashioned roses. I love to use flowers and leaves that smell good enough to eat.
It gave me great joy as the bride was getting out of the car and her driver was getting her bouquet, that he put it to his nose and took a long breath in.

The bride's bouquet.

The bridesmaid's bouquet.

Bride and bridesmaid snapped by me!

Button holes were done a little differently, and I love the simplicity of these little wreaths, made from rosemary or thyme and lavender, and finished with a little bow.

And some larger wreaths for the double doors of Mussenden temple. I had suggested moss wreaths for the doors and had shown Kara various versions, she chose the version that was slightly wild, and I just love how these look, I think they are very 'Wuthering Heights'. I used a copper wreath ring unto which I bound some hay, using reel wire, and then sheet moss, and finally Asparagus Fern, which gives it that lovely ethereal quality.

I think if you don't mind kind reader, that I will stop there for today, and show you the reception another day, it has been a very busy couple of days, I think I need an assistant, and a good sleep!
I do hope you have enjoyed what you have seen so far. Thank you for visiting, and commenting, it really makes my day! With much love, Linda x

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Romance is not dead.

Mussenden Temple Northern Ireland.

I am so excited as I am doing the flowers for a wedding next week, to be held in the most romantic building, Mussenden Temple, perched on a clifftop overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, with views of Downhill Strand.
Built in the late 1700's by the Bishop of Derry as a summer library.

In 1996 engineers declared that it was in danger of falling into the sea and being lost forever. The National Trust took on the task of reinforcing it with iron rods to prevent further erosion.Due to damp and salty conditions the interior plaster work has all fallen off, leaving it very plain and simple.

The lovely couple who are to be married have spent many happy times here throughout their courtship, and were determined that this was the place to exchange their vows. It can be very blustery and wild, so I will be keeping my fingers crossed that they get a perfect day.

I shall do my very best to take as many photos as I can before the event, and hope that I will get a few of the bride and groom afterwards.

Hoping you all have a great weekend, love Linda x.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Bank holiday day out.

Queen's University Belfast, designed by Charles Lanyon.
We were all off work and school today and decided to get in the car and go somewhere. My favourite place to go are the beaches of Cushendall or Cushendun on the north coast, but the weather was pretty wet and dismal, so it was agreed a visit to the Ulster museum would be more agreeable.
We parked nearby and walked and I couldn't resist a photograph of the university, which is such a handsome building.
Entrance to the museum is free and so it is always pretty packed on high days and holidays. Some complain that it isn't very good, but I always find something to interest me.

Some lovely early delftware and creamware caught my eye today. Although Paul and Lois were more in to the stuffed animals and birds.

We ate our pic-nic in the car, some sandwiches and home made buns, washed down with flask coffee, you couldn't beat it with a big stick! Then we venture into Botanic Gardens for a mooch in the hothouse.

The Palm House, designed by Charles Lanyon and built by Richard Turner of Dublin (who went on to build the great Palm House at Kew.) Built in 1800's it is one of the earliest examples of a curvilinear cast iron greenhouse. (Pretty fancy huh!)

Enormous cactii and ferns. My husband just couldn't get over how small the containers were holding these giants.

I was most astounded to find a lovely Frangipani tree in the greenhouse, we have always admired these on holiday in Madeira.
We all had a great day out and it was free! Sometimes these unplanned days can be the best.

I hope you all had a lovely day too. Love Linda x