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.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Man's Best Friend

Things have  been a little hectic around here for a little while. Lois (my daughter) has had her room decorated. She told me from the offset that she wanted none of my 'vintage stuff', she wanted a modern room. All white walls and woodwork with touches of black. I was a little worried that it would all be too stark and severe, so we agreed on adding a few splashes of red and a sunny yellow. I found a canvas of New York with a lovely yellow taxi and we used this as our starting point.

I painted a small blackboard on the wall and stuck blackboard stickers down the side and wrote the days of the week on them. I got the stickers as a giveaway from the lovely Samantha at The Nest.
Samantha makes the most wonderful cushions from burlap with great wording on them, and sells them on Etsy.She also has a marvellous eye for interior design and doing up old unloved furniture, and turning it into something gorgeous.

I made a little collage of her room on Picnik, probably my last visit  there, as they are closing shortly (boo hoo!) Well Lois is very pleased with her new look room and has even managed to keep it tidy, which is unheard of. You may have noticed that dogs feature rather heavily, Lois is, and always has been dog crazy. Her dog Sparky, has been to the dog groomers, and those of you who have met him before, just won't recognise him......he has been scalped!!

When we had that lovely spell of weather my husband and I bought a lean-to polypropelene greenhouse and attempted to errect it (in our kitchen).Well........all I can say is, it was a real test of our brains, bodies and our relationship. Thankfully, apart from a few nasty slices to our fingers all else was spared. It took a little bit of time and great patience, but hopefully, once the lovely weather returns (ahem), it will all have been worthwhile.

Tulips are cropping up everywhere in the garden, even though I planted them really late. My clever husband surpassed himself by making a lovely deep raised bed and a potting bench. It is my job to paint them next.

I apologise for the poor quality of these photos, I took them through the window with a shaking hand as I had to move quickly. This is the 'loveshack', a little birdhouse my husband made a few years ago. It was really made as a decorative item, we never thought a bird would actually nest in it. We have been watching a pair of bluetits fly in and out carrying little bits of moss. One day, after washing a quilted mattress cover and hanging it on the line I noticed the bluetit pulling the stuffing out. I was starting to get cross, but then could only marvel at the birds ingenuity.

A few days ago when the weather was very windy, the birdhouse fell off the window ledge, we were horrified. We quickly put it gently back and wedged it between two window boxes, but thought we wouldn't see our little friends again. Amazingly,they were back the next morning. I do hope they will be able to nest sucessfully and have a little family in our birdhouse.You might just be able to see the birds if you enlarge the photos.

You may remember in my last post I showed you some furniture I had painted for a client. She rang me back to say she didn't think it was 'earthy' enough. I had already sealed the furniture with 2 coats of a water based varnish, so I had to put my thinking cap on to think of some way of darkening it down without repainting the whole lot. I decided on an oil based wash (using eggshell paint, darkened with some black oil colour, and thinned heavily with turps). It worked, and my customer (who is King) is happy. I actually do prefer it more earthy myself, but tend to lean on the cautious side, as a lot of people would be horrified by an 'earthy' finish.

I had a little bit of fun one day and made these little dresses out of paper. I had seen the idea on  Pinterest and thought I would try my hand. Afterwards I thought, that although lovely, what use have they? So I attached a scented sachet, and then they could be hung in the wardrobe, or the airing cupboard, or shoe cupboard or whatever! There is something very appealing to me about things made out of paper that shouldn't be paper.

I also made (successfully), Christa's flapjacks from the delightful blog Emilies Daughter. She lives in Switzerland, and her blog is varied and interesting and her home is beautiful.. I have never been able to make flapjack's before, even though I like to bake, I just could not get the texture of these right. There is a down side though, they were sooo delicious that I could not stop eating them! So thank you Christa, these will be going in my recipe folder.

As you can see I haven't been sitting with my feet up, slacking, it is all going on around here!

I hope you all had a lovely Easter break, and are feeling refreshed and relaxed, and I look forward to finding out what you have been up to. Thank you for popping in, I really appreciate it, love Linda x.


  1. Wow - you've been busy. Your daughter's room looks great. Love to see Snoopy having pride of place - Lily adores Snoopy and has one in bed with her right now and has about 5 pairs of Snoopy pyjamas. It's funny cos I loved Snoopy as a child too! Great idea with the chalkboard labels - I would never have thought of using them that way but they look really good. Your dog looks handsome too. My golden retriever is desperate for a good grooming - he is absolutely stinking right now and I dread to think how many tadpoles must be hidden in his coat as he keeps jumping in the water close to our house!
    Thanks for the mention :)

  2. Hello Linda,
    You certainly have been busy! Your daughters room look fantastic, I love the yellow taxi canvas.
    And Sparky looks adorable,
    Essie x

  3. So that's what you've been up to!! Gosh, you've certainly been very busy bees over there. Your daughter must be so thrilled with her room. It's gorgeous, and how lovely that she is keeping it tidy!! The little dog looks very neat and tidy now! We have just ordered a greenhouse, in the hope of great things ahead this year. Good to see you back here today. Love from Diane x

  4. Hello Linda:
    Gosh, we are not surprised that you have not been able to find your way to the computer keyboard with so many activities going on all around you.

    Lois's room is an absolute triumph. The restrained colour palette works so well and gives a modern but also a jolly feel. We are sure that she must love it all....does she ever come out?

    And, as for all your craft works and erecting greenhouses, well, we are in awe of it all. You have such an artistic eye and a real talent for turning unloved, unwanted items into things of beauty.

    We do so hope that you all enjoyed a happy and relaxing Easter!!

  5. Wow you have been busy Linda!
    Lois's room looks brilliant - made me smile when i read the "no vintage" request - my daughter used to be like that, but blood will out ....she now loves rummaging in charity shops and chose 2nd hand furntiure for her room!
    Love the paper dresses, so pretty, and sucha good idea to add a scented sachet!
    No wonder its been a bit quiet over this way recently blogwise - busy, busy!!
    Hope you had a great Easter too!

    Gill xx

  6. Jings, what a busy woman. Love your daughter's room - very pretty. Dog is so cute!
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  7. We had blue tits nesting in a box my husband made, and placed on the trunk of the tall silver birch in the back garden. Sadly, when he took it down to clean it out over winter, inside was a perfectly formed little nest with six tiny eggs in it. We will never know why they were abandoned, but it was terribly sad. Now we have a pair of great tits nesting in it, so hope for better things.
    Love the photos.
    I know you occasionally comment on my blog, so this is to let you know I am closing it down in favour of a new one all to do with books and reading. If you go to mrsrunofthemills blog, then you will find the link to the new one.
    Maybe see you there sometime,

  8. Lois must be so thrilled with her room - it looks stunning Linda.
    I'm also really sad about Picnic finishing too and I haven't really had time to explore other options. I used to use a free package called Big Huge Labs and it also offered collages of you want to have a look at that.

  9. WOW! Linda! You have been BUSY! Lois's room is adorable! I love it! Such a room to grow in! Your blackboard space is genius and very practical! I adore the fresh yet retro feeling Snoopy and the Red "Con's"...as the kid's call them here!

    I, too will be missing Picnik. Everyone seems to be guiding me to PicMonkey...we'll see. As you know, anything new is time consuming, so it needs to wait for a rainy day when the chores are finished!

    {You need to pin the image of the blackboard and desk...it's brilliant, my friend!}

    The best of blessings to you and your family!

  10. What great before and after shots of Sparky...such a transformation. I bet he smells divine too...
    Lois must be doubly pleased...a "new" bedroom and a "new" dog!
    Julie x

  11. A really interesting post, Linda! Love the interior design that you do. Well done on the extra make over you did on the desk and chair....ingenious solution! I liked it both lighter and darker. Sparky looks so sweet in both pictures too....freshly transformed dogs straight from the groomer's always look a bit self conscious (but happy) I always think!
    Have a happy day!
    Helen x

  12. My goodness - you HAVE been busy!!! You have accomplished more in a few weeks than I could in months. :)
    Lois's room looks so fresh and fun, and I love her collection of little dogs. Sparky looks very much like my brother & SIL's dog, Yoshi!
    I would LOVE to have a little greenhouse here, as the growing season is so short and all the little forest creatures eat the plants before they can begin to produce any flowers or vegetables, but I will have to wait a while yet. The birdhouse is also so sweet, and it's wonderful that a little family is building a nest inside.
    I was in town this week and found your package waiting in my P.O. box. I love it all so very much! The pretty dragonfly hot pads and paper artwork is perfect for our tiny cottage, and I will think of you every time I see them! Thank you so much, Linda!!!
    Hugs and happiness to you & yours,

  13. your daughters bedroom looks fantastic..as does the dog..our scottie is due to the groomers soon..he hates it!!

  14. Hi Linda,

    Your daughters bedroom looks great Linda. Contemporary, but warm! I can see lots of things on the photo's my daughters have in their rooms as well :-)

    Your dog really got a revamp. He looks sort of sophisticated now!!

    Happy evening!

    Madelief x

    * the paper dresses look great too! It must have been fun making them. They have a vintage feel to them.

  15. Gosh you have indeed been busy, just with the content of this post alone. I love the new look you have given your daughter's room, bet she is thrilled. Just days to go before Picnik shuts and I think I have at last found a decent replacement which I used for my post today. iPiccy do give it a try.

  16. Hello Linda, What a great post! You have been busy and successful (the two don't always go together do they?) I love your daughter's room. It looks modern but not at all stark or boring. I also love the look of your flapjack... I can feel a baking session coming on! Jane xx

  17. My, you have been busy!! Your dog is goreous and it the exact dog that my 18 year old daughter has a fixation for at the moment!! We are also in the middle of decorating her bedroom, but at present it is in a sorry state waiting to be replastered as there are holes all over the walls were the plaster has fallen off!!

  18. I'm worn out just reading what you have been up to...love your daughter's bedroom, especially the blackboard, very clever...and I love the story about the blue tit...cheeky, clever birds! Have a rest now. Robx

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