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.

Friday, 9 October 2015


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

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Life's funny that way!

I was attempting to write this post when a little bird who had been flying about outside my kitchen window, landed on top of a birdhouse on the windowsill and started pecking the window with his beak, as if to say 'hey you, get out here, it's a lovely day and you've got some gardening to do!' I managed to catch a snap or two of him, but apologies for the quality.

Anyway, after I was so charmingly interrupted...

A couple of days ago, after a trip to the flower wholesalers, I was having a coffee in a well known coffee merchants, minding my own business (well sort of),when I overheard an interesting conversation. I noticed two young men when I arrived with a cute little baby girl. They were having a business meeting 9.00 a.m. Saturday morning. It turns out, the father of the little girl is a web designer, meeting his client to discuss a job, or several jobs, his wife is a beautician and at work, naturally. I was so impressed by this. How wonderful that this young family can find a way to work and yet take care of their daughter as well. How 'modern' of this business owner/manager/director whatever to meet up in a coffee shop and not mind if baby comes too. I felt quite liberated just listening to it all (they did speak rather loud..honestly).

It got me thinking, life moves on , we can embrace the changes, technology etc., or we can ignore it, but either way it still moves on.

 About six years ago I went on a Food Writing course to the wonderful Ballymalloe in County Cork. I rather fancied the idea of testing recipes and  then sitting in the garden hand writing  my notes or tapping away at a vintage typewriter.  Well..... what a shock to the system I got, when I learned I would have to have a blog, a twitter account, a facebook account, etc., etc. This is the woman who could barely text on her mobile. I was not at all computer literate, not even computer friendly! I was horrified, the whole idea of food writing was now a no go area.

A year later I was trying to set up a website for my wedding flower/furniture business. It wasn't going well, the young guy I was working with wasn't on my wavelength, or I wasn't on his. I started venturing unto the internet, not knowing what I was doing. Then quite by accident I stumbled across blogs. Madelief's beautiful blog was one of the first I found. I was completely enthralled. I wish someone had told me the internet was this good! I then spent hours, weeks, months even,trying to set up a blog.
It nearly drove me to distraction, I found it so difficult to understand what I was doing wrong, or right for that matter. I didn't want to be beaten though, so I persisted. Those first few posts, where no-one responds, are hard, I felt so foolish. Then someone writes something kind or funny or encouraging and it all seems worth it.

I cannot believe I have been blogging for over 4 years now. I have exchanged comments with some of the most talented, creative, kind people. What a disservice I would have done myself if I had never attempted to battle with my fear of technology. What beauty, inspiration, fun and frolics I would have missed out on. (Do you know that little birdie is still tap, tap, tapping on my window!)

I have a Facebook account and a business page, I have set up my own website (still ongoing),have dabbled with Twitter, love Pinterest and Picmonkey and am attempting Instagram. I do admit, I stumble around these sites attempting to do great things and don't, but at least I have a bash, and it's wonderful when one manages  to figure something out.

If I could have seen into my future whilst on that course in Ballymalloe I don't think I would have believed it. Wishing all my fellow bloggers, followers, readers a wonderful week ahead and a challenge to keep moving! Love Linda xx

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Paint the town red.

Red rose from Graphics Fairy.

Thank you dear readers for all your comments on my last post. My life isn't any simpler at all, and I can't see it happening in the near future, so I shall just embrace the variety and organised chaos and  get on with it!

I have been helping my sister, Lesley Smyth, with a job she has been doing, painting furniture for a rather swanky hotel in Berkshire  The furniture was made in Belfast by a company called Timbermark , my sister painted, gilded and distressed it, and then it was shipped off to be installed. These photos are of a HUGE dresser, which thankfully came in sections, to be put together on site.

These panels were to be fitted with an embossed leather.

We only had a short time to paint it, but thankfully it was completed in time. I think you will agree it looks rather lovely. It would be wonderful to see it all in situ.
Hope you are all having a good week so far, and a little warmed up by all this red. Love Linda x.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

I'm not dead!

No I am very much alive and glad to be back here in my little corner of blogland. I can't really say where I've been or why I didn't choose to post, I suppose I just needed a break. Sometime's you simply cannot 'do it all.'

I hope I am not too late to wish you all a very Happy New Year, filled with good things. At the end of last year I was very busy with all my 'crafty makings and doings', here are a few pictures to show you what I got up to.

Flower arranging, and drinking a little gin (well I needed the bottle). Furniture painting, and more furniture painting. Christmas decoration making, bag and brooch making, doll making, hat and scarf making, fabric designing, one-off orders and designs. Can you see my problem......too much variety. I like variety, it is the spice of life, but really come on. No wonder when it gets to Christmas I am worn out.

This year I mean to simplify.....everything, my work, my home, myself. How about you, what are your thoughts on 'doing it all', do you try to, or have you learned your lesson? I would love to know your thoughts on it.
So glad to be back among the living, wishing you all a very calm and simple weekend, love Linda x.