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.

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

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

A Spring Wedding or two

Prepared roses waiting to be arranged.
The flower girl had a little tiny posy of pink spray roses.

A comb for the flower girl's hair.

 I thought you might like to see what I have been up to in my absence. I had the great pleasure of working on Orlagh and Michael's wedding flowers in April. The bride was quietly confident in knowing what she wanted and that was roses, roses, roses. I had supplied the flowers for several of her friend's weddings, so she was relaxed with me from the start. It really was such a smooth operation from beginning to end.

I understand why some people don't care for roses, they see them as formal flowers and somewhat old fashioned yet the symbolism of the rose is very strong, it stands for love.I tend to prefer the more informal cabbage type roses, but I do love them all, and even though our garden isn't very big I can't resist the temptation to buy one or two new ones each year. I have lots of buds in the garden at the moment just waiting for the rain to stop and the sun to come out. I used to prune my roses in March but realised I was missing out on early blooming, so this year I have lots of roses blooming early and I am very excited about it.

Orlagh's beautiful bouquet of  Vendella roses (cream), Aqua roses (pink), pink spray roses and lily of the valley.

The stems simply wrapped with ivory ribbon.

Bouquets awaiting delivery.
The bridesmaid's dresses were the same shade as the deepest pink rose in their bouquets, which consisted of memory roses(dark), akito (med) and aqua (lt.)as well as snowball viburnum and pink spray roses.



My lovely niece Carina was married on Saturday to Mark, sadly we couldn't attend but here they are looking gorgeous and so happy.Congratulations to both happy couples.<3<3



Her lovely informal bouquet was designed and arranged by Escential Blooms.pictured here...


I do love a wedding. Thank you for calling in, wishing you all a rosy day, love Linda x

Monday, 18 May 2015

Painting Furniture......to wax or not to wax, that is the question!


People often ask me 'how do you know which way to finish a piece of painted furniture?' My reply ... 'it depends on what look you are trying to achieve'.

Recently whilst painting this dresser I thought I would photograph it with and without wax so you could see what I mean. The dresser was that 'lovely' orange shade of pine to begin with, not particularly old (20 years maximum). I painted it with Autentico vintage chalk paint, colour scandinavian blue.As you can see the dark wax that I applied to the base alters the colour quite a lot.
If you like the colour when you have finished painting it then simply seal it with something colourless, either a water-based varnish, sealer or clear wax. If you would have preferred it a little lighter then finish with a white wax (particularly effective over darker colours).
I felt that the dresser had an antique look about it with the lovely ogee bracket feet and arched panels in the door, so I opted for an aged or antiqued effect, and although this can be achieved several ways, applying a dark wax is the simplest way to do it. A photograph of the wax being applied will demonstrate.....


You can buy a special waxing brush to apply the wax but I tend to use an old paintbrush. It needs to be applied quite liberally so that the finish is even, then if it is too dark it can be re-waxed with a clear wax which will remove some of the darker wax, in a gentle way. However if you are impatient the excess can be removed with some turpentine or white spirits.Dampen a soft cloth with the spirits and wipe over your furniture as if you were polishing it, this technique takes a little practice as it can get a little messy, but take your time, and don't get your cloth too wet and it will be fine. Keep folding the cloth over so that you don't get the cloth too clogged with wax. You may need another clean cloth for the final buffing up.
Once happy with the finish buff up with a clean cloth (I like to use old towelling for this).It is quite physical as you need to apply a little pressure to get a sheen. Some people leave the wax on for a period of time or overnight before they buff it off, but I think it is easier to do it right away.
To keep your furniture in tip-top condition it can be waxed once a year and over the years will build up to a lovely patina. If you have varnished your piece you can still apply wax on top to soften the effect, a dark wax will still alter the colour but to a much lesser degree.


The finished dresser.
I painted the insides of the dresser with Autentico versante eggshell colour dolphin (a grey/beige colour) so that it would look clean  and fresh and would show up whatever is displayed in the top cupboards.
Some say that they really love the chalky look of the paint and would prefer not to seal it at all. This is fine for mirrors or things that won't be handled. I admit to having left furniture unsealed in the past but it will eventually mark. The other option is to use Autentico's white wax which contains chalk and so you get the chalky finish once more.
I hope this will be helpful to anyone attempting to finish their masterpiece, or just thinking about having a go at painting that bedside cupboard or coffee table.
Apologies to anyone who has popped in here to find me not at home, it is difficult to keep all the balls in the air! Looking forward to visiting my blogging friends and catching up.
Have a happy week ahead, love Linda xx