Tuesday, 7 February 2017

David Winter Cottages Part One

Hello Friends!

Once upon a long, long time ago I collected a few, not many, David Winter cottages.  I am not an authority on them, I only have a dozen or so, and I bought them for their aesthetic charm as much as anything, for I find them most delightful and pleasing to look at. One thing I can say is that the attention to detail is truly amazing for something so small ~~~ each tiny doorway, every window, nook and cranny is finished to an incredibly high standard of detail which you might not expect to find in something so small. Just take one in your hands and peek at the detail on a recessed doorway, or under the roof eaves, or through the arch running through the property as in the old coaching days and you will see the detail of brickwork, doors and windows continues inside the recesses as if built by faeries ~~~ truly amazing attention to detail.

In mid December 2016 I could not believe my luck on a chance visit to a local charity shop to find four tiny cottages sitting on the shelves and at a bargain price of just £2.50 for all four. My heart skipped a beat as I quickly and carefully scooped them up and scurried to the counter before someone realised they'd made a mistake with the pricing!  I later found out they had been there for over a week!  I did write a little about them during the Christmas Countdown that I did through Advent {and have imported those photos here} but many of you asked me if I will share the rest of my small collection.

As I am recording the cottages from several angles, I don't want to swamp you with dozens of images of cottages, so I'll start today with the four charity shop purchases, then soon I'll share the rest ~~~


















I've taken photographs from all angles because there is always something to look at 'in the round' with David Winter cottages, which I find adds greatly to the charm, so much detail!

Here's a helpful hint, if you have any David Winter cottages you will know that, no matter how carefully you handle them, they are prone to tiny chips and then the white underneath shows through. Not any more! I just used my Spectrum Noir alcohol ink pens and was able to touch up any areas with slight damage ~~~ good as new and only I know {okay, and now you know too, but shhhh! we're not telling, right?}

The following photos show how I used my entire collection along my mantel shelf and used rolls of cotton wool as fake snow to give a more festive feel. I also added a couple strands of tiny led lights to bring a little glow in the evenings as I could not put candles near to the cotton wool ~~~










The rest of the collection will follow in a future piece.  I hope you have enjoyed the first four cottages ~~~

Until next time
Deborah xoxo

Friday, 3 February 2017

17 for 2017

Hello Friends ~~~

Last year, thanks to my new and very lovely blog friend Sandra over on Wild Daffodil {a very creative and inspiring person and blog ~ and isn't that a delightful name?} I became aware of a fun event called 16 for 2016.  It has been running for a few years, and I toyed with joining in, but it was so close to the end of the year I decided not to. I thought about it again, but January slipped by and fiddledeedee, wouldn't you know it, I didn't start, but with some gentle encouragement from Sandra, here I am with my list of 17 for 2017.  Being the ferret that I am, I managed to back trace this concept to the original blog by Laura at Made in Oxford, and you can find it here.

I am a little bit behind starting, but anyone can join in at any time if they want to. I'm doing this partly to try and get back into making things and using up some of my not inconsiderable stash, and to set myself some written goals which, somehow, seem easier to achieve than the sort of goals that waft around in the ether and never reach fruition.

Being a bear of very little brain, and as this is my first year, with her kind permission, I have used some of Sandra's suggestions for some ideas to get me going. Once I started thinking, however, my own ideas started to flow through and suddenly I had a list of over 30 ideas to pick from!  So, without further ado, here is my list of 17 for 2017 ~~~

17  Handmade greetings cards
16  Handwritten letters using proper ink, paper, or notecards
15  Embroidery stitches learned and used
14  Walks of more than 1 hour
13  Books read from those already owned that I have not yet read
12  Weeks of "It's Never Too Late To Begin Again" by Julia Cameron completed
11  New recipes tried from my plethora of cookbooks
10  Scrapbook pages of memories
 9  Machine needle felted project {I have a barely used embellishing machine}
 8  Recycled denim projects from my huge stash of previously loved denim jeans
 7  Works In Progress completed
 6  Frame worthy watercolour paintings of any size
 5  Random acts of kindness
 4  Raised beds of vegetables grown
 3  Social Media free days per week {checking emails and blog are allowed}
 2  Stones of weight lost {for my American readers, that's 28lbs}
 1  One blog page created ~ header "17 for 2017"
 0  Fabric, Haberdashery, or Notions bought unless absolutely necessary to achieve                    completion of a project.

So, I'm ready to play!

Until next time ~~~
~~~Deborah xo

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Oh! The Moon Shines Bright and Dydd Santes Dwynwen

Hello Friends ~~~

Today, January 25th, is known in Wales as Dydd Santes Dwynwen. I have written about her story many times, so today I will share the link back to last year's writings, which you can find here, should you wish to learn about her and read her story.

Dydd Santes Dwynwen Hapus

I was so distracted earlier in January that I forgot to share some pictures of the full Wolf Moon ~~~

Now, forgive my confusion, for I am begining to think that every other moon is a so~called Supermoon, but when November's and December's supermoons both failed to impress, no one was more surprised than me to see how boldly beautiful and big the January full moon was ~~~


On the evening of the full moon, I was taking my rubbish bins to the bottom of the drive {such a romantic and magical task that it is} and I had already noticed the special, pale light of the early evening.  We are a month on from the Winter Solstice, and the days are getting noticeably longer now, so it was no suprise that the evening seemed lighter ~~~ until I turned around to come back up the drive and saw this ~~~


a beautiful, buttery golden, full moon sitting in a darkening evening sky ~~~ it was so golden, so buttery, so creamy yellow, and just sitting in the branches of the trees on so perfectly clear an evening it gave me goosebumps ~~~ I ran quickly back to the cottage and grabbed my camera, for these scenes are wont to change in moments ~~~ she was already drifting slowly across the darkening sky ~~~


For the rest of that evening, she glid slowly and elegantly across the sky, sailing ever higher and higher, moving through the night from the twilight hours in the north east to the late evening in the south, eventually to rest in the wee small hours in the west ~~~ she was a joy to behold indeed ~~~


In future, the guideline I shall use to determine how 'super' the moon is, will be how full she fits inside the view finder of my camera! When she fills the frame and spills beyond, then that shall be my supermoon definition!

The following evening, the winds did blow and clouds scudded, dark and menacing across the sky ~~~


The winds were fierce and I could scarce stand up to take my photographs. I braced myself against the cottage to steady myself.  This night, the moon rose steadily, oblivious of the difficulties I encountered, and shone through the bare branches of trees clad in nothing more than winter nakedness ~~~ it was too cold to hang around and wait for her to move into the cloudy skies so I used this to my advantage with some arty shots instead ~~~




Remember, Dear Friends, next time you look up at the night sky and see the moon glowing back at you that we all look at the same moon as she shines on us all.

I think I like the bottom one the best. The edges of the moon are slightly blurred into the branches, and there is ever so slightly a hint of the tree behind, in the darkness.  Which is your favourite, if any?

Until next time ~~~
~~~Deborah xo

Sunday, 22 January 2017

An Apple A Day ~~~

Hello Friends ~~~

Just a quick dip in and out this morning. I am working on an entry for my David Winter Cottages, in which many of you expressed interest and said you'd like to see more of them. It's taking longer than I thought and I'm thinking I might do two instalments ~~~



Today I thought I'd share my breakfast with you. I know that might seem odd to share my breakfast, but it's been a bit of a revelation to me.  For years, my usual daily breakfast has consisted of more or less the same basic structure ~ unsweetened or no added sugar cereal of some sort {usually oatmeal or muesli} with fruit, usually blueberries or raspberries, and any one of a choice of non~dairy milk or home made yoghurt.  I'm not 'dairy free' I just don't like milk. Anyway, a few weeks ago I ran out of berries and after two days of bananas in my bowl, I decided to try Bircher Muesli which is the traditional way the Swiss {who I believe invented muesli in the first place} prepare and eat this delicious breakfast dish.

You can find any number of muesli recipes online, and it is so easy to adapt them to make one to your own personal tastes, which is what I do by lessening the amount of dried, sweet fruits and adding lots of extra seeds and nuts which I love.  Bircher museli involves soaking the muesli base overnight traditionally in apple juice {which I don't like, so I soak in oat milk} and in the morning stirring in one grated apple per serving. Now, that's where the revelation happened ~~~


Despite what you read, and much as I love oats {in all forms} an oat based breakfast never ever fills me up and fails to keep me going until lunchtime, as it is often written it is supposed to do.  The fact is, whatever I eat for breakfast, the Hobbit in me is always ready for Second Breakfast, or a little top me up snack around Elevenses.  However, no one was more surprised than me when I found that the addition of the grated apple not only fills me up more than the blueberries, or other fruit such as banana or raspberries, but keeps my energy topped up and more evenly spread out so that I get to lunchtime not wanting that mid~morning snack!   And, talk about delicious! Apples, oats, nuts and seeds are a complete marriage made in heaven! Who would have thought a simple apple could make such a huge difference to my morning!  I've always enjoyed apples, but usually eaten on their own, or with a small treat of a piece of cheese, and I've always had a fruit at breakfast but never an apple, that's always been eaten later in the day. Now, I have my breakfast fruit later in the day instead. A simple switch, but what a difference it's made ~~~


Recently, I bought this Emma Bridgewater mug which was made exclusively for Fortnum and Mason.  The teabag tidy is from the Sophie Allport range ~~~ both are so 'me' with all the bees ~~~



I took the time to write a review, and guess what? A few days later I was notified that I've won a £25.00 voucher to spend on Emma Bridgewater for my review!  I think I'm going to treat myself to two of her new city scapes mugs. There are currently four, Paris, Venice, London, and Oxford.  I think it will be Paris and Oxford ~~~

Now, how many of you tried wearing socks to bed to help you get a better night of rest? Did you try it? Did it work? I'm still using them, and as a control some nights I don't wear them and you know what? I don't sleep nearly as well or nearly as restfully.

Until next time ~~~
~~~Deborah xo

Friday, 6 January 2017

The Pages are Turning ~~~

Hello Friends!

Yes, the brand new brave new pages of a brand new brave new year are turning again with each new day bringing a fresh, clean page for us to fill with our imaginings and ramblings ~~~

Over the last few months there has been a recurring theme in words and sentence fragments I have read in many places across the internet, in letters, in conversations, from books, and so many other sources, and some which have even uttered forth from my own lips, quite uninvited, and in the last few days of December the urgency, the number of occurrences that continue to shout this message are now gaining such proportion that I can no longer ignore them ~~~ I must "NOURISH" my "CREATIVE SOUL" ~~~


I mentioned it a short while ago, so you may recall me saying that I will not be taking as many photographs and instead I shall be using my words to paint pictures for your mind's eyes to develop for yourselves; I believe this to be the catalyst, for since then I have been writing more and, although not yet published, and I have started picking up my art more and more.

It is fascinating how, once you open a door in the right direction, more doors, and more opportunities seem to start flooding in ~~~

I also noted that continuously, as the one behind the camera lens, I find myself missing out on the moment, and this year it is my intention to live in the moments rather than be so lost in capturing a digital image.  Living in the moment will Nourish me too ~~~

But, I hear myself argue {oh, boy! there's no one like my inner voice at times such as these} you love photography! Well, yes, I do, but this year is going to be BRAVE and NEW for me as I try to strike some fresh, new balance in my life, and that must start with some balance over my photography and it's connection to other aspects of my creativity.

Seed Head

Oh, before I forget, I don't particularly make New Year resolutions, but do feel it is necessary to do so this year. I resolve to replace caps on pens and to retract ball points immediately upon finishing using them. From this, I think you may gather that there have been a few inkcidents recently. Do you like my new word?

Without going into detail why, I have neglected to feed and satisfy my creative self for far too long a time, whether in writing, painting, sewing, and more, but the time is right to return to feeding my creative self, right now, no time like the present {it's a gift, don't you know?}, I am giving myself the gift of creativity, this is the time I reclaim my creative self ~~~

The pages are turning on my new tool to a more creative me "Morning Pages" A good while back a dear friend recommended I read The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, and like so many other recommendations it made it's way onto my bookshelves only to languish. Now, if there is one thing I believe in it is everything comes in it's own time, and now is the time for me to start working through this book. There are a few other books that have arrived at the cottage recently too, namely Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and Draw Every Day * Draw Every Way Sketchbook.

Each morning, hopefully before the day begins in earnest, I am working on my Morning Pages, three pages of writing which does not have to be creative, but a stream of conscious thought. There are some interesting pages developing!

Each day, at any point where I can squeeze it in I am going to draw something. A doodle, a zentangle, illustrate a single letter, or work on something more intensive that might build up over a number of small bites of time, even over a few days.

I am making myself pick up something to create that involves fabric or paper as often as I can manage it, daily if possible. It may be something small and simple, such as a greeting card, a note card or a book mark, or it may be something that, again in bite size nibbles, goes on to create a larger work. I've ordered some crochet hooks as that is something I've always wanted to try, and I've pulled out some old embroidery hoops too ~~~

To all of the above, it isn't important what I write, or draw, or make, the important thing is that I am doing something creative, to feed and Nourish my creative spirit in some sort of pattern daily ~~~ the worth of this to my creative spirit is immense.

Please, don't worry that I have abandoned my photography entirely, for I know how so many of you love to travel along with me as we stride out across the byways and bridle paths of the Shire ~~~ on the contrary, I have signed up for an online course, "A Year With My Camera".  I know this is starting to sound contradictary, but this is not about taking photographs as such, it is about getting to know your camera and improving the quality of the images you take by knowing your camera ~~~ you know all those buttons and icons that most of us ignore and opt to use 'auto'? Well, soon I'll be learning what they do and the way they can be used to give back control of the image to me not to the camera.

Some of the other ways I am nourishing myself are, briefly, through healthy eating and walking. I'll share more on that in the future, but you know what this means, don't you ~~~ recipes and outings coming in the future, along with updates to my progress on The Artist's Way and other art and creating ~~~

Until next time ~~~
~~~ Deborah xoxo

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Beautiful Light!

Hello Friends!

Happy New Year!
Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!

During the month of December I did not want to swamp you with my usual posts but I did keep writing, so let's start a little catch up, shall we?

December has generally been an unusually warm and calm month, and early in December I felt particularly blessed for there were some outstandingly lovely days for the time of year, and the light that cast it's golden glow over the Shire was magical. We saw a couple of mornings with a light ground frost and that always makes a delicious subject for me to capture.  Here are some of the photographs I took when December was young ~~~

On a beautiful, clear and crisp afternoon, the sun slowly lowering and casting a warm glow as I was looking out over the red roof ridge tiled converted chapel towards Carn Llidi ~~~ the smoke billowing from the chimney making the elephant of the rock's trunk look even longer ~~~


We had some beautiful sunsets throughout the month.  I always marvel at the diversity, the colours, the intensities of each new sunset and as each one shifts and changes as the twilight falls ~~~ I look at this and see a secret faerie village emerging from the gloaming ~~~ do you see it too?


A bare Sycamore tree, long divested of leaves and seeds, but with an evergreen Privet wreathing it's feet, it stands stunning, a skeletal form against the brilliant, bright blue sky of a cold winter's morning ~~~


On a cold and frosty morning ~~~ yes, one day I awoke to a silvery, frost kissed garden ~~~ it did not last long so I scurried about catching a few pretty, silvery frosty pictures while the day was young ~~~



A certain light, as the evening sun slips slowly into the west, casts a golden glow across all it touches, brings gleaming spires to the Shire ~~~


One pretty morning while I was in my laundry room I felt as if I was being watched ~~~ and I was!  I scurried off to fetch my camera hoping the pair of eyes would still be there, and they were!  Isn't this the most beautiful cat? The photos do not do justice to it's beautiful deep green eyes ~~~



It is a very well looked after and cared for cat, but if there was any shadow of doubt over this I would be looking to adopt it! He, or she, is a beauty.

Here are a few photos that I've shared before but I am rather fond of these so am sharing again ~~~

Autumn leaves captured in ice


even the compost bin log takes on an original twist in the frost

Alchemilla Mollis in heavy fros 
Alchemilla Mollis in heavy frost
Over the Christmas period I was looking for something, what that was is not important, but in my search I came across some long forgotten photographs, you remember those? Old, grainy, 35mm film that fades away with time, that we had to hand over the spool of film to get printed out by a specialist in photographic printing? Well, I've done a little experiment and taken photographs of the photographs! Here they are ~~~ they are from the rural area around the Somerset county town of Taunton, where I lived for six months in 2000~01. Every Sunday I would take a long walk out into the surrounding countryside, past tiny villages and through hamlets, surrounded by deep red freshly ploughed fields, sheep grazing in pastures lush and green, and bare trees standing tall against the winter sky that were full of big balls of magical mistletoe ~~~ I had no idea where I was, just wandering and meandering along using the rising sun as my compass and guide ~~~ oh, how I wish I'd had a digital camera back then ~~~






Until next time ~~~
~~~Deborah xoxo