Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Gnoming Around - A Garden Trip

Come into the garden, Maud,
     For the black bat, night, has flown,
Come into the garden, Maud,
     I am here at the gate alone;
And the woodbine spices are wafted abroad,
     And the musk of the rose is blown.

by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Well, its safe to say that a virtual trip around my garden won't be as lyrical as the above, but I thought I'd do a post about said plot as for a short time, everything is in full bloom and then as summer continues it all starts to go downhill and tatty. 

I love a garden that's a bit unruly and full of quirky features; manicured lawns, tidy beds and tasteful statues aren't my thing at all. For me anything goes, from the glazed pots that I used to decorate the tables on my wedding day... a rather hefty drainpipe hopper that I've planted with herbs...

...and an old Singer sewing machine trestle that fits in nicely with the O-So-Silkie needlework enamel sign on the back wall of our house...

For me a garden has to be colourful and that's not just restricted to the plants, so thank goodness that exterior paint for sheds and fences etc. now comes in a vibrant range of colours, not just the usual 'tasteful' muted greens and browns.

When it comes to borders I hanker after big beds crammed to the gunnels with cottage garden flowers such as hollyhocks, foxgloves, big bosomy peonies and old fashioned roses...

And I reckon that a garden isn't complete without a gnome or four or more to keep each other company and get up to garden tricks when I'm not about...

But the garden has been loosing out to the orchard as I've been spending time at the weekends strimming the grass down and trying to keep the bindweed, ground elder and nettles under control. Although, I have left large stands of nettles as they're good for wildlife and also give us a bit of privacy from neighbouring gardens.

It's the perfect place to sit with a pale ale on a warm evening and watch the bats dart about.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Procrastination & Charity Shop Karma

Procrastination: I know you so well

I recently decided to finally give myself a kick up the butt and actually get on and do some much neglected chores around the house, such as clearing out years worth of clothes - including Monkeychild's baby and toddler clothes (she's eight now) and giving my wardrobe a much needed de-cluttering. However, its so easy to become distracted and start doing something else, thinking "Oh, I'll do that clear out tomorrow", but when tomorrow turns out to be a lovely sunny day and the garden beckons, then all thoughts of tidying up go out of the window.

It's the same with my job. I recently decided to go it alone and become self-employed. So involved was I in building a new client base and reading up on technical stuff, that I kept putting off all the necessary (but boring) things like word-processing my own document templates and creating a filing system for the hard-drive instead of just randomly saving everything in one place. Yet the other week when I had to produce a report for a client, I instead spent ages trying to devise a decent looking report template; whilst if I had made one earlier I could have had my report finished in plenty of time for the client's deadline....and saved myself from a lot of last minute stress.

So now I have decided to turn over a new leaf and try not to lend an ear to Procrastination whispering in my ear "You could do that tomorrow, go on - forget about it and do some more knitting - you know you want to!" But saying that, Procrastination did have a silver lining last week, so I can't completely write her out of my life.

I did two runs to my favourite charity shop, dropping off seven bags that had been mounting up over the past couple of weeks that were full of mine and Monkeychild's old clothes and unwanted books. When walking back to the car after the final run I found a £20 note on the pavement. I like to put that down to 'Charity Shop Karma', with perhaps a little help from Miss Procrastination!

Monday, 8 June 2015

New Finds: A Catch Up

Just thought that I'd do a catch up post about some of my recent charity shop finds, starting with the above 1960s 'Frenzy' talc tin. I love some of the designs on old talc tins, especially the highly decorative floral ones; yet the Goya tin only cost a quid and looks good in the bathroom placed next its Cussons cousin; the talc still smells scented too.

This Modernist articulated pendant caught my eye in a jewellery display last Friday whilst I was doing a quick run of my local shops. Its design just shouted out at me and I noticed that it was signed on the back - often a sign of a quality piece. Once home I did some online research and found out that the 'EH 47' is the mark of a designer called Eivind Hillestad. I've been wearing it ever since and its soon becoming a favourite; it looks good teamed with a modern silver-plated cuff that was another charity shop buy a few weeks ago.

I've tried to restrict my crockery collecting tendencies over the past year or so, but I can't resist a bargain - so these '50s Poole Twintone seagull and lime coloured pieces came home with me. They had to really, as the lime matches my kitchen walls. Also, cornflakes are more appetising when eaten out of stylish bowls such as these! 

My Mum makes me laugh, she says "Why don't you buy some nice new plates?" 
"But Mum, they're new to me!"

You know the saying that goes something along the lines of "You wait for one bus and then two come along at once"? Well, I think this can be applied to my growing collection of Rowan knitting magazines too. Remember back in March when I found some great early issues? Well, I've come across a few more since then, which I reckon is quite odd as they've turned up in random Gloucestershire charity shops and also up north in Preston. I'm not complaining though. Have any of you had a similar thing happen?

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