Thursday 31 January 2008

On my doorstep

What a wet and windy day we are having here today, such a contrast to yesterday's sun. Walks, outings and picnics have been popular blog topics this weekend, prompting me to make the most of the sunshine yesterday and take a walk myself - to the Post Office (well, musn't get carried away!).

Normally I take a direct route along the road but today I decided on the scenic route. We are lucky to have a large park just a couple of minutes walk from our house. It used to be a country estate, owned by the local Lord. Sadly, the Manor House fell derelict, and having been used and damaged by the military during WWII was demolished in the 1950s, but the parkland remains for the use of the townspeople. It's complety surrounded by the town now, but I love to come here and imagine how it once was.

It's uphill all the way, but fortunately there are benches at strategic points if you need a rest. It's a godsend for dog walkers in the area who otherwise would have to drive to a suitable spot.

Part of the family church still remains, open at weekends only now for a look around the private cemetary.

This secret path now leads to a locked gate, I wonder where it led to once - a secret garden maybe?

What once was a formal garden at the side of the house is now grassed over.

I found this archive photograph of the original house, taken in 1925. If it hadn't been demolished I suspect it would be luxury apartments by now!

I found this write-up about the house on Wikipedia:

When last occupied by the family, the house had an outer and inner hall on the ground floor (giving access to a lobby and drawing room), a dining room with adjoining study, billiard room, library and gun room.
There were two staircases leading to the various bedrooms, some with adjoining dressing rooms and also the nursery and servants' quarters.
The grounds included an arboretum, lawns, artificial lakes and ornamental gardens and was used for entertaining, garden parties and fĂȘtes. During cold periods the frozen lakes were used by the family and local residents for ice skating.

Can you just imagine?

Behind the house the grounds slope down again, an outcrop of stones in the bottom left, and a view of the downs in the distance.

A solitary lamp post, have I stumbled into Narnia? - of course not, there's no snow!

Down to one of two lakes, a popular spot for local fishermen. As well as ducks there have always been a pair of swans on the lakes. There have been some sad incidents, one year a swan was savaged by a dog, another year one was shot with an air rifle. The saddest thing is to see is the other swan left alone and grieving. When such incidents occur, a nearby swan sanctuary always take the remaining swan back to the sanctuary and replace it with a new couple. All the birds were at the opposite side of the lake today.

I think this building might once have been the ice house.

I often bemoan the fact I live in town, but with this on my doorstep it's not so bad I guess.
Through a tree lined avenue I end up on the high street and at the Post Office. A rare sight to see an original Post Office building that hasn't been turned into a trendy bar.

I posted my Pink and Green Giveaway parcels, then popped into the charity shops. Nothing much doing today, some pretty china ambitiously overpriced. I bought this pink and green brooch - apt considering the purpose of my walk. Had I not already posted the parcels I might have popped it into one of them! ;-) Maybe next time then, it needs some attention first.

I was tagged this week by Mere of These are the Days. I have to reveal 5 things about myself. Thank you Mere - I'm going to save that for another day.

Hope you are all having a good week, we have severe weather forecast for the South West today, not sure if it will extend to here, but it's certainly blowing up a gale outside so I'm staying firmly indoors today!

Sunday 27 January 2008

Giveaway Results

Hello dear blog-friends, I am pleased to announce that the draw for the Pink and Green giveaway has now taken place. I used the random number generator, as the fruit bowl was in use, number 20 was generated

The winner is Sue at Vintage to Victorian. Congratulations Sue, please email me your postal address and I will get your goodies packaged up and dispatched.

Now, don't go just yet - due to the response on this giveaway I decided to draw a couple of runners up too. They will receive a smaller pack of pink and green goodies comprising of:

A fat quarter (18" x 24") of the Laura Ashley Anemone fabric
A set of decorated pegs
A magnetic heart
A heart keyring with glass button trim
A pink and green mini envelope with a sweet surprise inside.

The two runners up drawn were number 22 and number 13

That's Fiona at Nonnie and BJ at ~Sweet Nothings~ - congratulations to you too ladies!

If you will please also email me your postal addresses I will send all the parcels out sometime next week, I hope you will like them. Comiserations everyone else, there will be another giveaway some time so keep checking. Since I have been rather fortunate in winning giveaways of late, I hope this goes some way to redressing the balance.

Thank you for your comments about my glass bottle, they were very helpful, it's good to have a second opinion, and many opinions are just the bees knees.

The majority opinion was that the bottle should stay on the left side of the window, just what I was thinking myself. However, because I felt so mean for thinking about getting rid of the bottle, I gave it a present, this beaded necklace - well it's just a tassel really but I don't think a bottle would know the difference.

I hope you have all enjoyed the weekend, I had a full days treasure hunting today and I am quite exhausted, I will post about it another time. I shall go now and put my feet up for what is left of the weekend (not much, boo hoo!)

Thursday 24 January 2008

Kitchen Window - Check!

A few posts ago I mentioned that I was trying to decide on a window treatment for my kitchen window. I thought and thought about it and just couldn't decide what to do. Then I bought 2 yards of this french check fabric on Ebay.

I sort of had the kitchen in mind when buying this, though not necessarily the window. However, when it arrived there was only one place it could go.

The fabric is like a heavyweight cheesecloth, not sure what it might have been used for originally, (curtains maybe?) it was quite stiff but a gentle handwash softened it up. Being a narrower than usual width, all I had to do was fold it over to make a frill at the top and stitch a channel for the curtain rod. I didn't have to cut it up and I used the largest, loosest stitch setting on the machine so I can easily remove the stiching if I ever decide to use it for something else.

The curtain rod is held up with velcro hooks - I didn't want to make holes in the window frames for nails and the velcro hooks were already there from a garland that had been hanging at Christmas. I hung these red felt stars to cover the velcro hooks, in fact these were the Christmas garland which sort of fell apart when I took it down (mass-produced - shoddy workmanship!) I think I'll replace them with something else at some point, but they'll do for now.

I had the devil's own job trying to photograph this with the light behind it, but I think you can get a pretty good idea from the pics. I am very pleased with the results and I think it will be staying for quite some time.

What do you think of that blue glass bottle in the corner of the window. It's not something I would have normally bought and in fact I didn't buy it. I was at a car boot sale last year and came across a stall run by 3 dear old ladies. Nothing much of interest on the stall but in a box under the table I spied some pretty lace doilies. I had a rummage and pulled out a few bits to buy.

When I went to pay, the ladies said they were so pleased I was buying them, their elderly auntie had died and they were selling her bits and pieces. I asked if they had any more and they had a look in the car and pulled out some embroidered chair backs and other bits. 'You can have those for nothing, otherwise we'll just be throwing it all away', they said, and then starting pulling out all sorts of things and giving them to me, including this glass bottle. I didn't really want it all, but I didn't have the heart to refuse, they were so pleased that someone was taking 'auntie's things'.

I put the bottle on the window sill, just for somewhere to put it, and it's been there ever since. Every so often I notice it and think about getting rid of it, but it's kind of grown on me. I just can't decide!

Later... I took a nightime pic as you can see the curtain better. I thinned out the window sill contents and removed the blue bottle. I think I prefer it without, sometimes you can see better in a photo whether things 'work'.

But then... I put it back again in the opposite corner, I think it balances the blue bread bin. Oh flip, I still can't decide. I think I'll leave it for now.

By the way, one day the windowsill and splashback will be tiled, I just don't know when that day will be. I've had to put some vinyl fabric over it for protection ( just in case you were wondering).

Another new item in the kitchen is this jelly bean machine which Mr. Bloom bought me for Christmas. You have to put coins in to get the jelly beans out and I think the intention was that I wouldn't eat so many as a result (I have a very sweet tooth).

Well it worked, but not for long. I have discovered that if you turn it upside-down and shake it, the jelly beans fall out without putting any money in ... and sometimes the money falls out as well! Hee Hee Hee - you'll have to try harder than that Mr. Bloom!! Oh, I love being a big kid :-)))

Don't foget my Pink and Green Giveaway in the previous post. Thank you to everyone who has left a comment so far, I am working my way around visiting you all. Wishing you all Good Luck! Ends on Sunday.

Must go now, got to give that jelly bean machine another shake!

Sunday 20 January 2008

Pink and Green Giveaway

Ah well, there's another weekend nearly gone, and a dismal wet one at that. Nothing exciting happened in this household, just more clearing out and DIY.

Now I know I said that I wasn't going to enter any more giveaways for a while but I succumbed to temptation and well, I won again! The Fortune Fairy must be in my street. This lovely selection of Valentine images came from Amy at Four Sisters in a Cottage. If you haven't been to Amy's blog before, do make a visit, Amy has recently recovered from breast cancer and very courageously shared her journey with us. Amy is a lovely lady with a big heart - Thank You!

So to ensure a more even distribution of winners and because they are such great fun to do, I'm having another Giveaway. I've put together a pink and green selection of pretty items which I hope will help to banish the winter blues.

The winner will receive:

A vintage bone china teacup and saucer in a pink wild roses design.
A piece of Laura Ashley fabric - (about 1/2 yard) the design is called Anemone from late 80s
A lavender sachet made from a Laura Ashley crochet coaster
A paper flower and bead garland (on wire)
A magentic heart with a vintage flower trim
A tiny floral envelope with a sweet surprise inside

To enter, as usual just leave a comment on this post. The Giveaway will close next Sunday 27th January at 7pm (UK time)

Oh, I should add that if the winner is outside the EU, the lavender sachet will be sent unfilled.

And finally...well, I've been out thrifting again. On Friday I visited all the other charity shops here which aren't in the town centre. I don't go to these so often because they are spread around and require a trip in the car, but they are more likely to yield bargains than the ones in town who like to act like they are proper shops - most of them are full of unwanted Christmas gift sets right now. From 5 shops I got these, nothing over £1, thought you might like to see:

I won't bore you with all the details, best buys were the Laura Ashley wallpaper at 25p a roll, and the Laura Ashley red and white tea towels - 25p each. And to think I paid £6 for a new one of these just before Christmas - darn it! Right, I think that'll be enough on the subject of thrifting for a while, you'll all be getting fed up with me.

Hope you've all had a wonderful weekend, don't forget to leave a comment if you want to enter the Giveaway!

Lucy x

Wednesday 16 January 2008

Technical Hitch

I have experienced some sort of technical glitch on my PC. I think it started when Mr. Bloom and I decided to book our holiday and I set the calender on my PC to July 2008 to look at dates. Well, instead of cancelling out I clicked OK. It took me a good few days to work out why I kept getting out of date security certificate messages everywhere I visited. As well as that though, some of my blog links seem to have got stuck in a time warp - every time I visited them I got the same post from about 10 days ago. I did think it a bit odd that so many of my blog friends weren't posting as frequently, but I assumed you were all busy doing other things. By chance I discovered this glitch yesterday when I went to a blog by a different route. So if you haven't received any comments from me for a while, or I have left a strange comment on an older post, that's why. I've got a bit of catching up to do!

After work this morning I went into every charity shop in the town centre - 7 in total. I came home with one thing, just one. Thrift Fairy must be elsewhere today. Oh but what a pretty thing it was:

I think I mentioned doing another Giveaway, I'm still putting a few things together but hope to post it next time. It seems to be taking on a pink and green theme - here's a preview of what will be included.

I hope your week is going well, I have banished myself to the attic and I'm not to come out (except for air, food and rationed blogging) until I have made some serious progress up there. It really has got out-of-hand, last year Mr. Bloom had to wear the same one pair of shorts all summer because I couldn't find the box of his summer clothes. I've found them now, plus a few of my treasures I had forgotten about (probably a whole post's worth) - I love it when that happens!

Saturday 12 January 2008

Corners of My Home - Landing

This week I have started the obligatory New Year Clear Out around the house - the entire house. There is not one room, possibly excepting the bathroom, where either a clear-out or decorating isn't required. The list is so long I avoid looking at it, but finally realizing that it wasn't going to do itself, I've made a start. I did however, manage to find this presentable corner to show you.

This is the view that greets me if I poke my head out of my sewing room, where I sit by the door, my 'corner' at the top of the stairs.

Some stategically placed items surround the radio. I can't decide whether this modern machine looks OK or not, but it's handy having it here as you can hear it from any room upstairs. On Sunday mornings Mr. Bloom and I listen to Sunday Love Songs as we get ready for Church. On Saturday afternoons Mr. Bloom listens to the football and I put on earphones!

It's not a large space and there's just room for the cupboard, where I store bedding and linens, and my small ottoman for laundry. My favourite ted sits on top.

I am really fond of this hat which I bought at the local Car Boot Sale for £1. The seller was a regular who does house clearance and he had obviously cleared the house of an older lady as he had racks of clothing and piles of shoes and bags. All at £1 per item. I only bought this hat as the others were quite plain.

I find it quite sad when I come across stalls like this, I hope the lady knows her hat is being loved now.

On the window ledge this elegant chalk lady is taking her lurchers for a walk, in the summer it's a sunny spot.

She's very chippy but I like her all the more for it.

By the way, it seems that the Thrift-Fairy has not been visiting you all as much as she should, I have had stern words with her and sent her off to sprinkle her thrift-dust around more generously. I wonder who she will visit next? - I do hope it's you!