Friday 31 October 2008

Door to door ...

Thank you all so much for your 'door' comments. It has been great fun reading them - I really do have a thing about front doors and would love to make a book of photos of them.

It was great reading all about the colours you have chosen or would like for your doors, I've conjured up some lovely images of your homes now!

We've just returned from a few wonderful days away and whilst I catch up with the washing, the hundreds of miles and what feels like a couple of centuries in time that we have travelled,

I wanted to quickly show you some lovely doors I noticed (there were so many to choose from).

I hope to be back very soon with some organised photos of our holiday and tales of muslin dresses, taking the waters, afternoon strolls and Regency rambles, but most of all the kindness and generosity of a special friend.

If you can't wait that long, here are a few clues:


Not a front door, but a view through the keyhole

And our very own Mr Darcy, who stole our hearts (no not this little chap, someone much more handsome ...)

Friday 24 October 2008

Cosy homes

The paint on our front door is fading. When we moved here we painted it a heathery kind of colour, it isn't quite the colour I had in my mind's eye. The men at the paint mixing centre were all very nice but didn't take kindly to me bringing in a pansy from the window box with exactly the right colour on one of the petals, they raised their eyebrows, mixed something up and well, it isn't quite right.

In our last house we painted our front door a beautiful pink. Deep, vibrant and glossy. When the sun shone down our road on the way up from the seafront it was lovely to think that the gorgeous deep magenta door was ours. I don't really miss our last home although I have lots of great memories attached to it, but the thing I really miss is that front door!

This all might explain why, when I set out to make a couple of tea cosies recently and found that one of them ended up with a pink door (not quite as gorgeous as THE pink door) I had to keep it! Until my front door here gets a new lick of paint I shall keep this little one on my shelf to remind me of what has been and what might be ...

I did make another, this time with a red door, I dyed most of the fabrics myself and love the differences in tones in this one. Some of the colours are lovely and mottled. I have never had a red door and would quite like one, one day. Perhaps I should have a dummy run ...

This one is for sale in my Etsy shop. A cosy home for your cups of tea.
If you fancy one custom made with your own choice of front door, just let me know. I'm enjoying this construction business! Doors, windows, walls and roofs can all be built to your own specifications, I can even do polka dot chimney pots, just like this one I made last year.

There are far too many things I love about our home that balance my need for a pink door again. One of them is the larger garden which means I can grown lots and lots and lots of lavender. I have finally with the help of Little Sister (thank you!) stripped all the buds from the stalks I picked a while ago. We have a huge bowl of it now waiting to be used. I made some more little sachets this week using some vintage embroidered linen I had. They look very pretty and smell delicious. I've put some in my Etsy shop too. (SORRY ALL SOLD OUT, THANK YOU!)

Now, does the lavender outstrip the pink front door I wonder? There is nothing like coming home and seeing your front door smiling at you and putting your key into its lock and opening that door ...

On the other hand there's nothing like coming home and walking up the garden steps and the sweet scent of lavender greeting you... If you could have any colour front door what would it be?

Have a good few days (i'm looking forward to them)

Tuesday 21 October 2008

Changing colours

Well there's no stopping the seasons once they set their mind to it. Last night I collected Little Sister from her dance class. Two weeks earlier we enjoyed a leisurely stroll back up the hill in golden sunshine, as we climbed the hundred or so steps to our home we watched the shafts of gentle sunlight stream through the turning leaves on the trees above our heads. A fortnight later and last night we dashed up the hill, huddled under an umbrella, the only light coming from the old victorian streetlamps that lit our way. Not only was it cold and wet, it was DARK! That happened quickly didn't it?!

So whilst the days are shortening the evenings lengthen and our daily routines slowly change too. I do love walking outside in the evening, wrapped up warm enjoying the little vignettes of daily life coming from windows, fires burning, people snuggled on the sofa or in the kitchen preparing something warm for supper. I love the view from Big Sister's window at night, an entire hillside of shimmering light, rows of houses banked up towards the sea - how little that view has changed across the years.

However what I really love about the evenings at this time of year is drawing the curtains on the outside and enjoying the cosiness of home. Of course in the mornngs when the shock of a frost or chill hits you as you open the front door, the temptation to stay put can be a tad too overwhelming. But what comes hand in hand with all these changes?

Different clothes, different colours and different textures. I love dressing for this time of year. Our coat hooks in the hall seem to be permanently laden with a variety of scarves, hats, bags and coats. The pinks and greens that I love so much in the summer, deepen in the Autumn. Whilst I can't always afford a new coat, I can always find a scarf or brooch to mix in with what I've got.

This little babushka brooch I found at the car boot a couple of weeks ago and she seems to look so much better on colder days than on the very hot day I found her.

My old ragged bag that I made years ago comes out religiously every year for a little outing around now. She looks great against a dark green coat I have and a bright hat - well I won't tell you how many woolly hats we girls have in this house, I think Big Sister breeds them in her bedroom.

When I was little whenever my Aunt would visit she would bring an old tin of brooches for me to play with. At this time of year I always think of her, perhaps the magpie in me comes from her.

So last night when we were scurrying back from the dance class what made it a little better was this lovely old umbrella that I found in a junk shop the other week. It is so pretty and feminine and flouncy. It has however been kidnapped by Big sister who promises faithfully that she will not lose it at school, leave it behind in the science lab, drama studio or art room, I fear its days are numbered ...

Friday 17 October 2008

Catching up

Thank you all so much for your lovely comments on my last post. I am finally feeling better after a week of shivering, aching, coughing and spluttering. On our way to school this morning Little Sister commented on how fast the journey was - I suddenly realised that we had been walking at quite some pace and not the limp dragging of feet that I'd been doing all week, trying to muster up the energy to get up and down the hill. A beautiful sunny morning greeted us today, a deceptively sunny morning if you ask me. No sooner had we walked down the garden steps than the crisp chill of an Autumnal morning hit us, maybe that's why we walked a little faster as well, either way we certainly had a spring in our step which is not bad considering it's the end of the week.

To all of you who very kindly sang my praises in the last post, I want to say thank you, I blushed when I read your comments. It really was a joy and a privilege to spend so much time with so many lovely people - girls who were embracing their age, not trying to be any older than their years, it really was as if being outside had stripped them of any need to pretend to be anything other than themselves... To spend time in a magical place that we really love was no hardship, we felt as if we had gone on holiday! Mr Ragged Roses and I wandered off by ourselves on long walks (that doesn't happen very often), we sat in a gloriously sunny field and read the papers and books whilst around us the girls ran wild and I have to say that the enthusiasm and energy of a bunch of teenage girls is very infectious!

Now at the end of a week when all things seem to have fallen by the wayside I feel as if I need to do a serious amount of catching up. I am walking around the house with the equivalent of blinkers, looking forwards only as any glance sideways reveals another pile of clothes, books, sewing, washing, dust (oh yes the sun is merciless in showing me the dust) that I have ignored all week. Apologies for not getting round to as many blogs as usual these past few days but I am trying to catch up. One thing I can tick off my list is the winner for the Persephone book - Willow, your name was pulled from the hat this morning by Little Sister. Hope you like the book as much as I did. I shall keep my eye out for other Persephone books when I'm rummaging around and see if I can offer anymore, I wish I could send a copy to everyone who wanted one!

Anyway I must be off, hope you all have a great weekend, full of fun and games.

Monday 13 October 2008

Festival Fifteen

So what do you do when you feel like you're coming down with the dreaded lurgy? Take to your bed? Stockpile the old Lemsip and Vitamin C? What do you do when your head feels like lead and it's your oldest daughter's birthday - why you go camping of course!!!!

Big Sister is very much a creature of the countryside and has been harbouring dreams of a birthday party in the woods since we first went camping in August. Knowing that the weather might be against us (how wrong we were) we booked a yurt for the birthday girl and friends and hired a bell tent for us.

The only word I can use to describe the way we all felt this weekend was blessed (yes, in spite of the lurgy). On Friday night when ringing the campsite to check on our bedding situation the lovely owner told us that they had a surprise for us. Yes, the yurt was booked for Big Sister and the whole trail was deserted, furthermore they decided to let us, the poor parents, enjoy the yurt experience as well. They had erected not one, but two interconnecting yurts for Mr and Mrs Ragged Roses and little sister to enjoy with more comfort than I had ever imagined.

We arrived laden with enough food to feed an army, eiderdowns, the said tub of flying saucers, henna hand paint, face paint, tatoos, warm socks, feathers and the birthday girl.

She had seen the yurt before but wasn't prepared for the fresh prettiness that had been added for her arrival. If I could have bottled the look on her face as she walked into the yurt I would have - wonder, delight, sheer bliss and excitement.

Bunches of fresh flowers, double beds, tea lights, armchairs, heating, welsh dresser, stove,

gorgeous rugs, wall hangings, sheer curtains draping the "Windows" a teenager's dream.

On the other side of the campfire were our little yurts. Looking like two ....well I'll leave it to you to imagine what they looked like, nestled amongst the trees with two little wooden doors. We walked straight into what can only be described as Mr Tumnus" house! Little Sister being a huge Narnia fan looked just like Lucy when she was invited in for tea by Mr T for sardines on toast and a bit of the old panpipes!

Unfortunately the photos weren't that good, but imagine a world in miniature, our own little living room with sofa, shelves, rugs and tealights leading onto the second yurt with a bed, woodburning stove and more candles. It was just enchanting.

We just had time to put up some bunting before the friends arrived and the fun began. Not only did the sun choose to shine in a way reminiscent of midsummer (a proper midsummer that is), but the fields were empty. There followed a day and a half of pure outdoor fun. Fifteen year old girls running wild in the woods, bathing and washing in the stream, painting themselves with mud from the riverbank, swinging from the trees, making headdresses from feathers and foliage, eating for England, singing, laughing (oh what laughter), being free in a way that you can't be in a town.

As night approached and the moon shone down us we sat around the campfire and watched the mist rolling in across the valley.

Its long fingers creeping through the trees and completely engulfing us. We sat toasting marshmallows over the fire, playing wink murder and waiting, oh how long we waited, for Mr Darcy to appear from the mist on horseback. We heard a sound, not horses hooves but the sound of a quad bike - the campsite owner had arrived with a trailer on the back of his quadbike to take them off into the woods to gather some logs for our fire. I wish you could have heard their shrieks of delight as they were driven at breakneck speed across the field through the mist to the woods, we heard them shrieking all the way there and all the way back again.

And so to bed, the tealights were lit and the girls went to their yurt and we to ours. At 2.30am after three hours of Little Sister constantly asking me what the time was, my eyes and nose streaming and the sound coming from the girls yurt reached fever pitch as the flying saucers took their toll I had to ask Mr Roses to ring them up to keep the noise down. You could hear the noise drop immediately the phone rang. At the time it seemed the obvious thing to do, it was only later we realised how ridiculous it was to ring somebody in the middle of the woods who was only a few yards away - but mobile phones seem to be the only things teenagers will respond to!

A misty morning and a raging temperature and M brings me tea in bed, lights the woodstove and we're all feeling nice and toasty (I am perhaps feeling slightly toastier than most). The girls emerged slowly and bleary eyed from the hippy yurt and join us for hot chocolate chez Mr Tumnus. We spend a couple of hours chatting before I muster up the energy to go next door and rustle up their breakfast. They wander off for a morning walk in the mist.

And then the sun breaks through.

Another day of pure blue skies, brilliant bone warming sunshine, long gentle walks, more face painting (just how many times can the word "love" be written on a face?), jumping from hay bales, messing in the stream and friendship.

It was a festival that Big Sister wanted and a festival she got, one of fun, friendship and freedom. We sat and watched and listened to these beautiful girls enjoying themselves, free from the restraints of daily life, completely unselfconsciously enjoying the moment.

When we came home Big sister emailed the campsite owner to thank him. She told him that ever since she was little she had dreamt of finding a place like this and how lucky she was to have found it. How lucky we were to have been allowed to share it with her.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY my gorgeous girl. May your spirit always be free and able to shine as it did this weekend. We love you.