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.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Something old, something new!

Image from Pinterest. I am linking to Laura's post of the month club. Click on her button on the sidebar if you wouls like to take a look.
Sparky, our Westie, has to approve of everything that enters!
 My daughter has caused a little bit of chaos around here as she decided she would like more room in her bedroom , and would like the single bed from the guest room instead of her double bed. After much hauling about and shoving and a little dismantling, I managed it...solo.. I hasten to add! Now though, the guest room has one large bed in it and not much room for anything else, so virtually every piece in the house has been moved to accomodate this change. It has been a bit of a marathon. I can't really complain though, as my daughter knows that furniture can be moved, because I am always doing it!!! Anyway, the bathroom cupboard was moved to Lois's room to house her clothes and I needed something rather desperately for the bathroom. I headed off to one of the many charity shops and found this little number for £10. I snapped it up, and set about it's transformation.

Firstly I gave it a jolly good clean with an abrasive cleaner, then sanded it lightly. It has glass panels in the door of the cupboard, but I didn't want that, so rather than take it out, I painted it with blackboard paint. I painted the whole thing with a primer first, then the blacboard panels, 2 coats. When that was dry, I masked it off and painted the rest in Farrow and Ball's Pavillion Grey.I then varnished the grey with 2 coats of matt varnish. I drew numbers on the glass panels and drawer with chalk and then sprayed them with hairspray to stop it rubbing off. Finally I lined the drawer  with a cute pirate's map paper. So. what do you think of it?

 Last week I won a giveaway on lovely Abby's blog my spotty pony, it was a gorgeous flower arranging book by the late Jane Packer. I was so delighted to receive this on several levels, because it was Jane's and she so sadly left us recently, and I have always been an admirer. Because I have seen it featured in magazines and had wanted to own it, and also because it was Abby's giveaway! So what a lucky duck I was to actually win it. Now if you don't know Abby's blog you must go and visit, she is a most charming and kind person, who does a marvellous job, helping people with disability's overcome them ,by learning to ride a horse. She owns a gorgeous horse called 'Spotty', hence her blog name.Her blog is not all about horses though, it is most varied and interesting. She is so generous that she even sent a lovely chocolate owl for my daughter, who was most impressed. So thankyou Abby, from Lois and I xx.

Lois says thankyou!

I found some lovely Christmas decorating ideas at Martha Stewart,I thought you might like. This weekend Lois and I will put up our trees, so I am frantically making room and getting ready.

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Have a wonderful weekend. With love, Linda x

Lovely gingerbread houses. (One year I put gingerbread men on the tree in the kitchen, when we came down the next morning, we found all these little wires lying on the floor, and the gingerbread missing from the lower branches. Sparky (our Westie) had had a lovely little midnight feast!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Count Your Blessings!

Happy Thanksgiving to all who partake in it! I have a lot to be thankful for, apart from my lovely family, I think the thing that I am most thankful for, is my home. My Mum was a great homemaker, she moved homes many many times in her life and she always said 'your home is in your consciousness', and because of that she could pick up and start again,wherever she happened to be.At this time of year I often think what it would be like to be a homeless person, living in a cardbord box, sleeping on the street. My heart goes out to all who find themselves in that situation.

I could go on and write a long list of all the blessings I'm counting, but instead I will show you some lovely images to represent them.

Sparky, our West Highland Terrier.

Paul and Lois.

Looks like butter wouldn't melt doen't it?

Happy Thanksgiving! Love Linda x  Images which are not my own are from pinterest and Tumblr, for which I also give thanks.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Vintage Christmas.

I have been having a little fun making corsages to adorn Christmas presents. It all came about when I bought a book called 'Homemade Gifts Vintage Style' by Sarah Moore. I had actually gone out to get a biscuit decorating book by 'The Biscuiteers',it was out of stock and so whilst looking around I found this rather lovely book.

The funny thing is, that Sarah Moore, the author of this book is also co-author of the Biscuiteers book.....small world. I decided that the corasges would look lovely on presents and would be quick and easy to make. The author said that once you start you will find it hard to stop, and she was right! They are simply varying sizes of fabric circles stitched together and then a safety pin sewn in the back. I was thrilled to be able to use up some linen and lace doilies that have been hanging around for years! Old bits of broken jewellery and buttons come in handy too!

For the children in the family, I added these little felt animals that I made last year.

Lots of dogs for my daughter!

Normally I have a colour scheme and theme with my Christmas wrapping. Last year it was brown paper hand stamped with words and doves and wrapped with string. This year it will be more ecclectic to tie in with the corsages.

To keep me entertained whilst making, I listened to Christmas music. I know it's a bit early, but the truth is, and I know it's a bit sad, but I absolutely love it. Every year I buy Starbucks new Christmas cd, because they are usually a quirky mix of various artists, and I just adore the artwork. This year though, the whole cd is by' Pink Martini', and I am not so sure about it, but it's early days, I only bought it today! Then there is the lovely Michael Buble, his cd is fab, I will have it worn out by Christmas!

This will be my next project from the book, a fabric wreath covered with kitschy bits and baubles, it sooo takes me back to my childhood! So sorry if I've been boring you with Christmas stuff too early, but I just love Christmas, and I am beginning to get in the festive spirit.

Thankyou all so very much for your most touching and heartfelt remarks on my last post, it meant the world to me! Have a wonderful weekend, love Linda x

Monday, 14 November 2011

Angel of Thanksgiving

Photo taken from Andy Scott's Website.
As American Thanksgiving day approaches, my thoughts enevitably turn to this piece of public art on the banks of the  river Lagan in Belfast city centre, she is known locally as' Nuala with the Hula' or 'The Doll on the Ball'. Her real name though is 'The Angel of Thanksgiving,' and she is where she is, because of one woman.....my mother.

My lovely Mum, on the day the 'Angel' was erected.(photo taken by my brother Paul)

My Mum was a very spiritually minded person. She really believed that if a person, no matter how poor, or ill, or  deprived could give thanks to God for the little good that was in their life, then God could turn their life around. On a visit to America, she visited Thanksgiving Square in Dallas, Texas. It is a building, where people of any denomination can go and pray and give thanks to their own Deity. My Mum was very impressed with this idea, and thought that Belfast was in need of such a place. She approached the Council, and local business leaders and presented her ideas. She had a real struggle on her hands, and it took her 16 years of blood, sweat and tears to bring it to fruition. The Council agreed to donate some land to the project, but it was too small to put a building on it, so the idea of a statue or monument was mooted. They decided to have a competition for someone to come up with a design, and it was won by a Scottish Sculptor and Engineer, Andy Scott. He is a wonderful man, who really supported my mum, and he was able to encapsulate all  her hopes and dreams into his design of 'The Angel of Thanksgiving'.

I don't have my Mum's great faith, but I do know it is important to believe in something greater than yourself. I think too, that an attitude of grattitude is sadly lacking today. I am so grateful that my brave Mum fought for her beliefs, not for Belfast, or Ireland, but for us ,her family. She has left such a great legacy. I am so proud every time we cross the river to say to my daughter,' look there's your Nannie's statue.' It was such a comfort after her death to have such a beautiful reminder of her fighting spirit, her faith and her passion for her beloved country. She would have been so thrilled to know that it was voted as the No.1 piece of public art, by the people.It is used by all sorts of companies to represent hope, the new Belfast and it is photographed and drawn by artists. It is sad that she didn't get to enjoy the fruition of her work, but we her children and grandchildren are truly blessed by it. Thanks Mum!

Photo from Wikipedia.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Flowers on my table!

 I thought you might like to see some late bloomers from the garden. I rather love little tiny, unpretentious posies scattered around the place. They make you stop and look.

I am begging, borrowing and stealing Hydrangea at the moment to dry for Christmas. In Vic Brotherson's wonderful book 'Vintage Flowers' she makes a huge ball out of dried Hydrangea and hangs it from the ceiling, see below..... I plan to do the same.

I am having great success at drying some, but not all. The lovely lilac specimen below is from my own garden. I tried by having some stems in a small amount of water but they shrivelled up. I tried hanging them upside down, they did the same.

The white ones, also from my garden seem to be drying upside down but I am not sure what colour they will end up. That is the exciting thing about this process, seeing all the incredible variety of shades you can end up with. Gosh wouldn't the world be drab if it was only in black and white?

Wishing you all a fun-filled weekend, love Linda x

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

I'm lost in a daydream.....

Image from Tumblr.
Today I just wanted to share some images that for one reason or another really excite, inspire or move me. I hope you like them too?

Image from Tumblr.

Image from Tumblr.
Image  from Pinterest.

Image from Pinterest.

Image from Pinterest.

Image from Tumblr.

Image from Tumblr .

Image from Tumblr.

Image from Tumblr.
Image from Pinterest.

Image from Pinterest.

Image from Pinterest.

Image from Tumblr.

Image from Tumblr.

Image from Tumblr.
Image from Pinterest.
Image from Pinterest.

Image from Pinterest.

Image from Tumblr.

Image from Tumblr.
Image from Pinterest.
Image from Pinterest.

Image from Tumblr.

Image from Tumblr.
I could imagine a lovely romantic story could be formulated around these images. And the...there are the ones that make you laugh...

Image from Tumblr.
Oh yes, and the ones that make you cry....

Image from Pinterest.
A warm welcome to my new followers, and a big thankyou to all who are so kind as to comment. To those who just like to look, ...hello, do please call again. I appreciate every last one of you. I wish you all a happy week, in which you may find a little time for daydreaming. Love Linda x

Image from Tumblr.

Whoops I nearly forgot, this is for Claudia, who asked for the recipe for the poached pears. I am afraid I don't know where I originally got it from, it has been on a hand-written note in my Dessert file for many's a long year!

4 ripe pears
1 lemon
300ml. dry white wine  (I often use red).
100g caster sugar
1 cinnamon stick (or I sometimes use star anise)
200g fresh blackberries.

  1. peel, core and slice pears. (It looks nicer if you leave them whole, but for children or elderly I slice them)
  2. take peel from lemon with zester.
  3. squeeze juice from lemon.
  4. place juice and zest in pan with wine, sugar and cinnamon stick (or star anise). bring gently to boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then increase heat and boil until thickened (about 5 mins.)
  5. add pears, cover and poach gently for 10 mins.
  6. remove pears to a bowl and cool.
  7. boil wine mixture until reduced and pour over blackberries and cool. (I tend to put blackberries in with pears and poach them too, but they do break down a bit).
  8. mix with pears, serve chilled in glass dishes and garnish with lemon peel.
  9. that's all folks!