Saturday 26 September 2020

Autumn Is Here

Hello Friends!

I do sometimes state the obvious in my choice of titles, don't I, and unless you live in the southern hemisphere, then Autumn is most definitely here.

This font is called Architect's Daughter. I am not sure how readable it is, but as I am still playing with fonts I'll give it a go, although I very much favour the last one, Eagle Lake. I wish I knew how to change the fonts on the headers and sidebars of the template though.

The official, astrological start of Autumn was barely days upon us when we had our first taste of late Autumnal weather.  We've had two or three days now of the kind of unpredictable weather that changes within minutes, and have had horrible, short, sharp hailstone showers that I'm glad I was not caught out in!

From this {short video which I hope will work for you}

To this

to this

In minutes.  It's ridiculous.

I have done a little decorating for Autumn. I think it always helps cheer me up as the stormy days and longer nights come in.  I don't have a lot of Autumn decorations, but this Summer, hidden away in the attic, I found a big box of all sorts of pine cones I've gathered over the years.  They've all been thoroughly bleached and oven baked to make sure they are bug and disease free, and might be why they've kept so fresh for so long too.

If you knew how much I love pinecones, you'll know I could barely contain my excitement.  Just look at them!

There are teasels, walnuts, a few conkers, and maybe an acorn or two

Lots of different pine cones, all deliciously Fibonacci and so many shades of brown!

Then, there are these, my pride and joy, the Big Ones, which I've photographed alongside a medium jar Yankee Candle for size comparison, I guess they are around ten inches tall.

Little beauties, aren't they, although not really so little?

I have a little, antique, Deacon's bench in my hall, and have added some artificial sunflowers {the most realistic ones I could find} and some felt, crochet and pottery gourds.

I took the Autumn patterned fabric cloth away, it made it too cluttered.  I will use it elsewhere.

I also like to bring out books that are seasonally themed, and found this lovely one on my shelves, which covers all the seasons, so is aptly named, The Seasons. It is a charming anthology of {mostly} poetry with scenes of a bucolic nature on every page.  Some are in delicate colour, most are monochromatic.  

We'll take a browse through some of my other Autumn themed books in the coming weeks.

Since I had the gas fire taken out, the grate has looked rather bare and unwelcoming, so I've filled it with pinecones.  It looks so much better, and I do believe The Pretty Baa Lambs approve. 

Some individual photos of some of the more interesting pine cones I have collected.

Although not specifically autumnal, I found this little cup and two tiny saucer-like plates in a charity shop a good while ago, for just 50 pence. The colours and leaf pattern just say Autumn to me.

For fans of the Great British Bake Off, or Great British Baking Show as it's known across the Pond, isn't it great to have it back on our screens? Finally, a small sense of normality, and what a sacrifice they all made, being locked away for the duration of the filming.  I feel like dancing, and already disagree with the judges! 

Miss Emily E Claire and Beatrice Badger are so happy, they baked their own cake to celebrate.  

I confess, I am very fond of Emily, I rather fancy myself in that sweet, window pane check dress, apron and mob cap!  The little board is a plaque that belonged to my Grandmother, a gift from one of her sisters.  I come from a long line of good cooks!

By now, I am sure you've all heard the joyous news from Buckingham Palace that Princess Eugenie and her husband, Mr Jack Brooksbank are expecting their first child in the New Year.  Finally, some good news to hear, and to look forward to.

Until next time
Stay Safe, Stay Well
Deborah xo

Tuesday 22 September 2020

Still Playing in New Blogger

Hello Friends!

I am exploring the new Blogger.  I am sure we all are now.  It has it's faults, there are many, but I've found a lot of great, new features too, such as a very easy way to change your fonts.  As a calligrapher, I can't resist a font!  This is called Eagle Lake.

I am having fun with it, are you?

I can change the colour too, which I could do before but it didn't hold when published.  Let's see, shall we?

I can now add emoji's.  🐻🌈💗

And, I discovered I can now add photos directly from my Google account!

My favourite magazines for Autumn

These will be mostly square, not oblong, as they are linked from my Instagram account: countrywaysandcottagedays

New Blogger is getting more exciting than it was, and the more I  play, the more I like, and I am starting to like it!  A lot.

Enough about that for now, I am sure we'll all be sharing more things as we discover them, and persevere with the new interface.  Soon, we'll wonder why we didn't like it!  I know I'm in the Honeymoon period with it right now. 

So, let's play with the pictures.  Here are some random ones imported from Google.

We hardly ever get Autumn colours where I live, and these were taken a few miles inland, on my two hour journey to visit my darling mother.  I remember the day so well, the sky was clear and blue, a perfectly comfortable Autumn morning.  My spirits were high with the beauty of the day.  Little did I know that in a few weeks my heart would be broken.

As you can see, they can now be custom resized to fit using drag handles, no longer just small, medium, large, and extra large.  Of course, you still have the small, medium etc. options available if you don't want to use the drag handles.
My little helper getting into mischief
My favourite sunflower socks and although resizing is easy, don't do as I did here {for an example} and drag to resize from the middle.  Unless you really do want to distort your image, use the corner drag handles!
My other favourite flower socks 
Japanese Wind Anemones
Ruby red apples on the bough
Small handful of late ripening strawberries 
More rosy red apples to harvest
Wild blackberries, juicy jewels of goodness

I will get back to more normal things next time, but am happy playing in new Blogger finding all the features and experimenting.  Hope that those of you who've struggled soon find yourself settling down with it too.  

I don't know about you, but I find the "undo" feature a very useful tool.

Until next time

Stay Safe; Stay Well
Deborah xoxo

Monday 21 September 2020

World Alzheimer's Day

Hello Friends

Today, September 21st is World Alzheimer's Day.  I lost my darling  mother to this dreadful disease not once, but twice, as she mentally and physically slipped away long before her body finally gave up the battle.

By now, most of us probably know someone who has been, or is affected by some form of Dementia.  The numbers affected, sadly, grow each passing day and many have the beginnings of it long before it is even noticed as a problem.  

One thing I find everyone, without fail, says to me as they sadly have a loved one diagnosed is that they now understand what we were going through with Mum.  You see, one of the biggest problems with Alzheimer's is that the person looks so well, usually up until it is Stage 3.  They are far from well, and we need to raise awareness of this fact so we can all make their lives more bearable.

I once had it described to me thus:

Think of your mother's memory as a bookshelf.  The bottom shelf is when she was born, and each shelf going up is a fresh decade in her life.  As you reach the top, suddenly, a book falls out and too the floor, and no matter how hard you try, you cannot pick it up and put it back.  Slowly, the books all begin to fall out, and with each book that falls, so do the memories fade never to return.  Eventually, there will be no books left on any of the shelves, and the book case is empty.

My mother had the most beautiful smile, and it could light up a room.  My cousins gave me a rose in her memory; it is called Betty's Smile.  Mum's smile continued to light up her face with it's precious light, right up to the end.  It is my most treasured memory.

Please, become aware of the signs of the beginnings of Alzheimer's Disease.  Although there is no cure, yet, there are medications and assistance available to help people cope, to maintain a good quality of life and independence for longer, and that is so important.

I miss my Mum each and every day, and I pray for those of you who have loved ones going through this dreadful journey, which at the time of a pandemic, must be unthinkably difficult.

Until next time
Stay Safe, Stay Well

Thursday 17 September 2020

Facing up to Face Masks

Hello Friends!

It's a sign of the times, I haven't been out since my last trip to the hair dresser in early March, the time is here that I must gird up my loins, as they say, and start going out again.

As we know, it is now de rigueur to be responsible and respectful by wearing a face mask in public places, so I thought it was about time I made some.

If you want to make your own, there are more than enough instructional video links on YouTube, and it's well worth looking at them, then pick and choose what will work best for you, and a few of them generously share their discoveries and solutions to problems, such as gapping, and misting up of glasses.  I looked at several before deciding and mine will be the machine washable at 60* triple layer masks, rather than the type with a disposable filter, which you still have to wash.

I have a stash of suitable cotton fabrics, and suitable linings. To begin with, I picked an inexpensive fabric with a pretty and delicate purple print, and after measuring my face, across from mid point between my nose and ear, and from the bridge of my nose to my chin, I cut two 9 x 5 inch rectangles.  I cut the same from a piece of old towelling sheet, and two 7" pieces of soft, 1/4 inch elastic. 

I worked through the construction process, made a few mistakes, but then, et voilà!  One reusable, washable face mask.

After trying it, I found the fit was not to my liking, if it covered my nose and tucked up under my glasses it sat too high up on my chin and barely covered my mouth, so I made another, cutting my rectangle 9 inches x 7 inches, and that has worked just fine.  It's the larger version I am showing in the {dreadful} photo, above, of my model. 

I now have to work out how I will add the Prym metal nose bars which I bought from Empress Mills, link below.

Lots of places sell pretty fabric, or you can use old cotton sheets, pyjamas, in fact almost any fabric is good as long as it is a close weave.  I did buy some fabric to make a special cat themed one for a friend, and I also got matching elastic.  Of course, I couldn't resist the pretty floral print at the time either.  I found the quality and service from Empress Mills exemplary. They have a lot of lovely fabrics too!

The seemingly white elastic is actually pale lilac and perfectly matches the cat pattern fabric.

I am now thinking about making a little matching bag for each of my masks to help keep them clean and tidy in my handbag or pocket while out and about.


If you are wearing disposable, one time use, masks, please, please dispose of them responsibly.  Already, photos of birds and small mammals injured or trapped by the elastics are flooding the internet.  A simple snip to split the elastic loops is all you need to do, and then bin it.

Moving on.  

My first outing was a very short walk along a nearby lane.  Normally it's deserted.  I've walked it for years and hardly ever see a soul!  That particular day, I met seven people, and no, I wasn't going to St Ives.  Seven! We were all very respectful to each other, but I was the only one with a mask.  Not that one is required in such places, I was testing it out.

I was shocked to see such a huge amount of Ragwort liking the path.

The lovely view at the end of the path  How I have missed it! 💗

Continuing to use the new style Blogger and discovering and playing with some of the new features, today's play is with the new fonts option, which I like, and discovering access to my Instagram photos via a Google App I didn't know I had, and thanks to Ragged Robin telling me about it, I've inserted a quirky emoji!

Until next time
Be responsible, stay safe, stay well
Deborah xoxo