Monday, 27 February 2012


 Well the year is definitely springing along here! I am thankful the cold snap is over. The log store was getting low and, well, it was COLD! 
We had a heartfelt February with a Valentines' breakfast for the boy..
 and lots of folding and colouring secretive loveliness..
 Some beautiful crisp long walks over the half term, and a new Nature Reserve enjoyed at Wheatfen, home of Ted Ellis who was a Norfolk wildlife hero when I was a child.
 Another excitement was an unexpected feature in a magazine I had not come across before! I'm now plotting my subscription!
 As ever it was odd to look at pictures of the old house.
  I really enjoyed the edit of Hazel's write up in this one. I think it's my favourite article so far.
 Stitchy excitement as March comes around with two embroidery workshops to enjoy at The Dragon Hall in Norwich on the 19th and 26th! For details of how to book you will need to contact Dragon Hall direct. Their details are on my website along with Autumn workshop dates if you can't get a place this time around. Dragon Hall put on an amazing season of textiles classes and events so it's well worth asking for the full brochure!
There has been stitchery work, a boy sampler for a new baby, always a pleasure to create something for a new little person. It's a very simple piece of work and I greatly enjoyed that simplicity. 

I particularly enjoy stitching words. There's a rhythm to it that I find mesmerising.
And outside our cottage Bertha's garden is starting to wake up. There is the promise of a carpet of Spring flowers but so far only the Crocus and Snowdrops have dared show their faces in the sunshine.

Oh yes! I almost forgot! Thank-you all so much for the wonderful replies to the 'Pale and Interesting' giveaway. There were so many good answers that I couldn't possibly choose my one most important thing any more! But we did choose one answer and the winner is Gill, because when I look back over the pictures of the old house, the one thing that tugs at my heartstrings, aside of the view out the window, is my old Aga! Send me your address Gill and I'll send over your prize.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Changing perspectives.

Well, ahem! Yes, there have been a few changes around here. I have simplified, much like in life. Back to the essentials. Deciding what's important. Not to put too fine a point on it... clearing out!
It is fun to take car loads to the charity shops, to send precious bits and pieces to friends who will gain pleasure from a surprise parcel, to make decisions about displaying my absolute favourite things.
Stitching continues in the background, but here too I am making decisions, paring down my work, there's some way to go but I am enjoying the process. This piece was finished before Christmas..
 The beautiful boy also completed a gift for daddy...
 Badger lives with the boy at daddy's house but comes to hog our stove from time to time..
 In keeping with tradition we walked in the year on a crisp January day...
 and now all of a sudden here we are in February and all is turned to white! Which is a wonderfully helpful prompt!
 ..because long ago I promised a book giveaway thanks to the lovely people over at Ryland Peters and Small.
 I was sceptical. Any of you who have read my words in various magazines will know that I have never liked brilliant white in my homes and so I was likely to be a tough critic of this book. Pale, to me, was not the least interesting!
 In fact this book has been a revelation. I enjoyed the peacefulness within it's pages. The way that precious objects rest within the spaces and are able to be enjoyed unhindered by jazzy decor and heavy colours.  The boy and I were especially drawn to the pages showing displays of nature finds, a passion we share.
And the juxtaposition of white and salvaged and natural materials took the edge off of the clinical coldness I had always associated with white walls...
 All of which has helped us to settle more into our little white cottage! Once the builders had finished their dastardly deeds the entire cottage needed a lick of paint. Budget and time meant the simplest solution was gallons and gallons of trade white. Having read this book I took time to look more openly around our little home. In the guest room treasured quilts, a polished oak floor and some of Bertha's old utility furniture...
 Elsewhere colourful china, books and more warmth from polished wood
 Nature finds simply displayed...
 and of course there is always colour to be found in the workroom!
I am enjoying this process of rebuilding a simpler space. Within a canvas of white and wood there are colours and textures and nature treasures and finally our cottage is beginning to feel like our home. Which I think is as much about a change of perspective as it is to do with whatever colour there may be on the walls.
So. As with any lovely things I am sent I always like to pass them on to my readers. So if you would like to receive this copy of Pale and Interesting by Atlanta Bartlett and Dave Coote, which I have found a delicious read, then the question is... aside of family and friends, what is the special thing that makes your house feel like home? As usual we will read all the answers and choose our favourite. I am really looking forward to this one!
And in case any of you are worried by the weather reports and concerned for our well-being out here in the frozen East... please don't worry! We have panic-shopped for essential provisions!
All's well! Back in a week or two and looking forward to hearing all your wisdom as ever!