Saturday, 12 April 2014

Susan Branch

I have mentionned before how much I love this lady's work. Susan Branch is a wonderful illustrator and author and her career as such has spanned many years. Most of her early books are now out of print but  I have been sourcing them from Ebay and also Amazon,( whose second hand books are amazing value for money). These are my latest finds. They were shipped from America and were less than £4 each including postage.

Her topics are many and varied but all her beautiful paintings and words can transport you to a perfect, cosy world. One where you don't have to worry about day to day trivialities. They are almost a form of escapism to me when I read them. Wise words and touching poems sourced by Susan, from ladies past and present, homely recipes, tips and hints to make the perfect home. She has many fans all over the world but you do feel almost as if she is reaching out to you, as if somehow she is a long lost friend. Her blog is a joy from start to finish. She shares her Martha's Vineyard home and garden (drool) with her 'girlfriends' and lets you take a glimpse into her 'perfect world'. I do have to say having visited Martha's Vineyard last September with Tony, I can see where she finds her inspiration! Those dreamy little clapperboard houses,beautiful gardens and views that are so stunning they almost take your breath away.
I am sure, of course, that she does have her problems. Everyone does, but by sharing the nice things only, you can almost forget that horrible/mundane/trivialities exist.
One of my favourite parts of her blog posts is what she calls 'Musica' whereby she selects a piece of music that you can listen along to as you read. Lovely! If you haven't read any of Susan's work or her blog, pop along, I'm sure you will love it too.If any of you are fans too, don't be shy, introduce yourself and I will pop along to visit your blogs too!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

One down, another in progress

Just thought I'd show you a pic of my finished bolero cardigan.It just needs a button which I shall get at the weekend when I go up into town.

I've really enjoyed making it and I have just cast on another one in a bigger size.

Thank you all for your lovely comments over the weekend. The tree is Amelanchier Lamarkii  for those of you who asked and it's the ideal tree for a small garden.
See you at the weekend!

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Knitting mojo back!

Where do the weeks go? Another busy week where I have barely had time to read any blog posts. I am forever trying to catch up these days!
I have been plagued by headaches and generally feeling 'under the weather' for a couple of weeks but yesterday I decided to buy some wool and a new pattern and have a go at making a couple of bolero type cardigans.
I am working from this pattern....
and have chosen a lovely cotton yarn, it's Sirdar Snuggly, Baby Speckle and I have chosen this lovely peachy colour.
I love knitting baby garments, they knit up really quickly. This pattern is easy to follow and I am really enjoying doing it.

My mother's day blooms are still looking beautiful but the tulips I had in the hallway have gone over so this afternoon popped out and cut a few blooms from the garden to display there.
The hellebores are still flowering after several weeks. I love this variety which I bought a couple of years ago from the Harrogate Spring flower show. The outer cups are deep plum in colour but the inside has a purple/green speckled throat and yellow stamens. I've added some lovely scented Clematis Armandii flowers as a contrast.
And my favourite tree is in full flower at the moment. It is stunning and gives interest from spring where its young leaves are initially bronze coloured, right through to Autumn where the leaves turn the most gorgeous orangey/red hues.
It brightens up a corner of the tiny side garden but you can only see it from outdoors so I have chopped some down to bring indoors.
Why not enjoy it inside as well?
I'm going to try and have a bit of a catch up now and see what you have all been up to. Have a great week!

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Mother's Day

Hello everyone!
I haven't had chance to do a post this past week for a variety of reasons nor have I been able to read many of your blogs much less post a comment.Hopefully I will be able to have a catch up soon.
I would like to say a couple of thank you's firstly before I forget.
I won a giveaway on Susan's blog which arrived the other day from Australia. It's a beautiful handmade sewing caddy and I have already used it Susan!

And my friend Sally sent me this to add to my collection......
So thanks to both of you. 
It has been a lovely weekend. I was well and truly spoiled as it's Mother's Day.....
beautiful flowers and yummy chocolates although we will have to wait a few weeks to eat them because we have both given up chocolate for Lent.
It has been such a lovely sunny, warm weekend. The sort of weather that tempts you outdoors and we have managed to get lots of little jobs done. It's amazing how quickly the herbaceous plants put on growth and some tiny plants I bought a few weeks back from the garden centre are already spreading out.And of course now we are on British Summer Time they will romp away.

Today's bake was apple and pecan buns which have been given the thumbs up by the family.

And last but not least I promised to post a couple of photos of our finished hall now the oak flooring is down.

We are both really thrilled with it.
Have you all had a lovely weekend?

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Fairies in our garden

It's official. SPRING is here. How do I know? The garden is waking up. Little creatures and 'things' are waking from their slumbers.Do you want to see some of them?
We have fairies in our garden.......

The green man and the little owl have spotted them too.....

And the pussy cat wind chime is tinkling away to announce spring's arrival.....or could it just be fairy wings?
 The temperature gauge is going up....15C it says...

We popped to the garden centre this morning and bought lots of lovely cheery violas which have now been planted into a variety of containers and are dotted around the garden.

And just in case you were in any doubt that Spring had arrived, what trumpets its arrival better than this?....
 Did you notice my painted lavender plant pots with the hearts on? I found an old match pot in the garage and gave 3 old pots a couple of coats to spruce them up.I think they look really pretty............................
Have you been gardening today?

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Untold story

I picked this book up for £1 in Poundland. Having read the brief synopsis on the back I decided to give it a go. As I got into the story I realised that the main character in the book,Lydia, is based on the late Princess of Wales, Princess Diana. What if she hadn't died ? If she had somehow managed to fake her own death and with the help of a highly trusted adviser escaped to a new life in Midwest America where she managed to live amongst 'normal people' . Without actually naming her, the book explores how and why the most famous woman on the planet could do such a thing. Of course it's pure fantasy. There would be no way on this earth that she would ever have given up the chance of playing a part in her boys lives.
The first line of the book reads 'Some stories are never meant to be told. Some can only be told as fairy tales' and that is what this is. However it is a lovely read and I couldn't wait to find out how it ended especially as she had been 'rediscovered' by a member of the paparazzi who was about to reveal all.

How much would Diana have loved to have been a Grandma? I bet she would have made a doting grandma and she was without doubt a lovely mum to her boys.Would Kate have been the daughter she never had? I can imagine she would be very proud to have seen William and Harry as grown men. Privileged they may be by accident of birth, but they appear to have grown up to be decent caring young men.Surely Diana's influence in their young lives played a part in that. She was a flawed character but there can't be many of us who don't think of her and what may have been, had she lived, when we see her sons.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Gardening,baking,spring cleaning and thrifted find

Our new lawn looks as if it has been there forever. It is nice to look out of the french doors onto a sea of green. There isn't much else to see at the moment.I had some gorgeous little spring flowering plants but seem to have lost them when we deconstructed the raised beds.Thankfully the astrantias that I thought I had dug up are now showing themselves. Other herbaceous perennials are beginning to poke through the soil including the catmint which seems to be attracting cats from far and wide. I have had to put a guard of bamboo canes around it otherwise it's going to be flattened before it has chance to flower. The clematis armandii is clothing our fencing and is at its peak of glory.It's flowers are really beautiful and they also have a slight fragrance.Far nicer than looking at a boring old fence, don't you think?

Two little plants worthy of a mention (spring bulbs aside of course) are these...
and these

whose gorgeous blooms are helping to brighten up the long borders edging the path along the length of our house and back garden.
I have been in spring cleaning mode this weekend, the kitchen cupboards have had a good clean out and have been scrubbed and tidied. I actually got down on my hands and knees (with my glasses on in case I missed anything) and washed the skirtings and floor tiles. Those of you who are owned by cats (yes, I did get it the right way round in case you are wondering!) may know what I mean when I say that cat fur gathers in certain places like tumbleweed and despite my brushing round the kitchen floor most days there was still an accumulation under the kitchen table.
Our oak flooring in the hallway was put down on Friday and is as beautiful as I thought and hoped it would be.Hopefully it will be more practical too than the carpet we had.I will take some photos of it when everything is back in place.

Sunday afternoon wouldn't be complete though without a baking session. This week I decided to try a new recipe. Another one I cut out of a magazine at some time or another and put in my recipe file.

Lime and coconut cake. It's lovely and moist and very tasty too.
Recipe is;
6oz Self raising flour
1 teasp baking powder
6oz caster sugar
2oz tenderised dessicated coconut
3 eggs
5 fl oz natural yogurt
finely grated zest and juice 2 limes
6oz butter,melted

Oven gas mark 4,180 C or 160 fan oven
The recipe is for a 2lb loaf tin but as you can see I made a round cake.
Put flour,baking powder, sugar and coconut in a large mixing bowl. Mix well. Put eggs, yogurt, zest and juice of the limes into a jug and mix with a fork. Pour into dried ingredients along with melted butter. Combine.Pour mix into prepared tin and bake approx 45 minutes til golden.
For the topping I added the juice of 1 lime to 150g icing sugar and mixed well, then trickled over the cake and sprinkled more of the coconut on top.
Oh and by the way, it is on top of my newly thrifted cake stand.
A couple of pounds from Scope and its in great condition despite the fact it's over 100 years old!
I'm off to see what you have all been up to now.
Have a great week!!