Photo a Day – Week Seventeen

This week I thought I’d write more about the photos, those little details that I might not remember from just the image.

The story of no rain. We have been without rain here in Leeds for about three weeks. Amazingly it was 1976 when this last happened! Watering those plants has to be done.

The story of my dusty floor! But not really. This is the continuous story of how much this fella means to us, how we give him his kong full of treats if we leave him in the house and how he crosses his little paws and cocks his ears. Also of course that I put the big camera on the floor and set the timer to get this photo. Keep trying new things.

The story of my one little word. Practice. I have abandoned this for much of the year. It happens but I picked up the macro lens and tried to practice my skills with it in the bright sunshine.

The story of letting some things go. Sometimes I have a plan of things for us to do when she comes for tea. Most of the time these days she’s not interested and I need to go with that flow. Gav brought out his nano block shuttle model to build and it went down a treat with all of us that afternoon. So chill Mel and ride whatever wave comes along.

The story of a surprise harvest of potatoes. Gav always grows a few in bags for an earlier crop but we have been stricken with blight so didn’t expect many. It was a lovely sight as a good crop of golden spuds fell out of the bag.

The story of family. My great nieces first birthday party. A garden full of people I’ve known for many years and some I hardly know at all. The joy, the laughter.

The story of summer salads and new to us Orzo pasta. The Emma Bridgewater bowl and purple napkins. How I like to cook more in the summer time and eat outside.

And there we go.

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The Breakfast Love Affair – Eggs Florentine

I began writing this post by looking back to see when I last waxed lyrical about breakfast. A year ago, in fact over a year ago! Let me allay your fears and say that we have indeed been eating breakfast but clearly I’ve felt they were to boring too write about!

When we were in London recently Gav had Eggs Florentine, as I recall on the two consecutive mornings. Last weekend he returned from the shop with a bag of spinach, a pack of muffins (the English kind) and a new jar of hollandaise and asked me to make it for breakfast the next day. How could I refuse?

In case you are unfamiliar with this version of breakfast/brunch it is a lightly toasted muffin topped with wilted spinach a poached egg and a dollop of hollandaise. Mmm….. And since I’ve got my poaching sorted, what with all the practicing I did for the asparagus,  I managed to pull of a lovely morning meal. Definitely one that we will be trying again and with all that spinach it must be good for you too.

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The Click Tick List – Watch a Shakespeare Play at the Globe

At the beginning of April I wrote about hoping to cross four items of my list this year. I made profiteroles, that was one and now we can cross another off because Gav and I headed to the Globe Theatre when we were in London last month and watched As You Like It.

So what was it like watching a play in an open air reproduction theatre then? Magical. That’s what. It was helped considerably by the play itself which is one of Shakespeare’s more light hearted works and apparently a favourite with audiences of which we can concur.

Luckily for all those folk standing, it didn’t rain.

All I knew about this theatre was that is was supposed to be a replica of the original Globe from Shakespeares time. I should have done my research before going but instead I have just done it and must say it makes interesting reading.

Here is the story of how it came to be built and here is the main web site for the theatre.  (Click on that second link for some great video shots of the building).

Although Gav and I are fans of the theatre and getting out there to see things we don’t go as often as we should. But now I’ve been once to this great place I can us popping along to see something on every trip to London. I may even give the standing up a try!

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Bloom 2018 – Sweet William and Anritrrhinum

Our ‘heatwave’ is continuing and I am trying to keep the annual flowers healthy and producing flowers without using too much water. There is a contradiction!

I must admit that I have left the sweet willams to fend for themselves, water wise and I can’t say they have fared badly. I think those wonderful plants as so well established, this being their third summer, that they are coping with whatever weather is given to them.

Speaking of weather I was thrilled to find that the antirrhinums planted in our little cutting beds had overwintered. Antirrhinums are classed as half-hardy annuals, they are not supposed to survive frost. But five or so plants came through all that snow and ice and began producing beautiful early flower spikes. I haven’t grown this variety this year and am regretting that now because they add such a rich depth of colour to the vase and the garden.

My favourite alchemilla mollis was added to this arrangement along with the two flowers. Simple yet lovely.

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What I’ve been Reading – June 2018

First the good news…… I read three books in June so caught up on my goal of reading two a month thus 24 in the year.

The bad news is that I am still stuck in my comfort zone. But I have decided I don’t care right now and am reading what I like!

I started The Affair by Lee Child in May but finished it in June. Like all the Jack Reachers before them they are quick to read because I can’t put them down. This one was a trip back in time to when Jack was still in the army. It takes place just before the very first Reacher novel and sets the scene for why he decided to quit that institution. Enjoyable.

Next I went back to Inspector Montalbano. August Heat by Andrea Camilleri. This one was on ‘the pile’ as I bought it some time ago from Barter Books. Have to say it wasn’t a favourite and makes me want to have a rest from this series of novels.

And oh dear yes, my third book was more Jack.

Really liked this one. Very on the edge of your seat tense and full of suspense. It also gave a hint that Jack could be fallible (I don’t think it would be a spoiler to say he always wins in then end, well in all the books I’ve read so far anyway!) which I liked because everyone is at some point even our fictional anti-heroes.

I may try something off the pile this month who knows?

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Photo a Day – Week Fourteen, Fifteen and Sixteen

Still playing catch up.

Cannot resist a stick or in this case a piece of wood he found in the garage after sneaking in and rootling around.

Been waiting for these beautiful Sweet William ‘Sooty’ to flower. I bought them as mini plants last summer because I couldn’t find the seed for this particular variety. After a bit more searching on the internet I found seeds so hopefully I’ll have lots next summer.

At last, new growth on our little Christmas tree.

Lemon and poppy seed cupcakes. Yum.

June drop. It’s one of those things that happens to apple trees, a natural process of shedding some of the fruit so that the ones left can mature with plenty of space. Even though I know the reason for it happening I hate to see it.

Photos of the bees, always.

Me and the fantastic harvest of Sweet Williams.

On to the next week….

We have been having the most incredible sunny spell for weeks now and although this artichoke looks perfect the plant got blown about it the wind and because the soil is so dry it just fell over. We staked it but the hearts were dried out. Still pretty though.

I love feta cheese!

We did amuse ourselves both playing Boules and taking this picture!

Lovely sunset on the longest day.

I see you.

A walk in the country.

The froth og alchemilla mollis.

And one more week to get us up to date.

Managed to make a perfectly runny poached egg for our seasonal treat.

Still messing about with the camera and focus distances using the self timer. Not quite there yet.

Pasta pesto salad.

Man at work…….

Sleepover which included making pizza.

And lemon cheesecake the next day!

Rescued this Ringlet butterfly from the greenhouse and he sat there long enough for me to grab a photo.

And there we go all caught up.

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Layout Share – Here We Go and some Thoughts on Travel Scrapping

I’ve been thinking a lot about these scrapbook pages recently as I’ve signed up for a class over here all about travel story telling. I adore Ali’s classes, always get so much from them and come away inspired and ready.

The first week is walking through all of her past albums and then looking at those trips that haven’t got completed stories ‘in the books’ yet. She is encouraging us to think about the way we have told travel stories in the past, what has worked and what hasn’t.

When I think back I’ve used lots of ways to tell our travel tales. Mini books were a go to choice for many years. They were very popular in scrapbook land and inspiration was on every scrappy blog. I also used travel notebooks from Paperchase to journal on the go and then add all the ephemera and photos in when I got home. There are a couple of smaller sized scrapbook albums dedicated to holidays and most recently of course I have made 12 x 12 layouts to put in an album for that trip.

It has been good to think back, look back and remember all those places we have been and celebrate the stories I have told about the adventures. It has also made me happy to realise that for right now and for the stories about last years travels I’m happy to carry on with the 12 x 12 pages (which is good really because I have at least ten pages already made!)

Here We Go

Here’s the story –

We packed up and had a quick breakfast and got loaded into the car for the journey to the Eclipse. It was so very exciting indeed. What wasn’t exciting was the traffic! But we were off again on the next phase of this crazy adventure. Bring it on!

Looking forward to more from the class and sharing more of these stories.

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The 100 Day Project 2018 – Thoughts on Eighty Days Done

Well. Here we are then. As I write I have made eighty four squares! Eighty four days. Wow.

Here is a re-cap on the basics of my project.

I’m putting 100 hearts onto fabric. The squares are all 6.5 x 6.5 inches. I selected a variety of materials in a limited colour palette. White, cream, pink, grey, brown, beige. All except one piece of fabric I already had on hand. These were an old linen blouse, three re-purposed cotton sheets.  I bought one length of salmon pink linen.

For adding hearts to the fabric I have used fabric markers, dimensional fabric paint, Mr Huey’s spray ink, applique, white spray paint and two fabric ink blocks. Embroidery floss, and buttons have also been used.  I have cut up card and fun foam for templates and to make my own stamps.

When all 100 are finished I’ll be making a quilt. Phew.

Here are a some of the squares from the last fifty plus days. Some are my favourites and some I included here because they are ‘different’ and a little bit different should be celebrated!

Possibly my all time fav below.

Gav, H and my fingerprints! Hers are the perfect ones!

I said way back in March as I pondered this project ‘what if I run out of ideas?’ My response back then was where is the challenge if you know you can do it? Which is still true but I know now that I won’t run out of ideas.  There are endless ways to put a heart shape onto fabric. Endless.

I did however, begin to plan and mentioned this over on my Instagram feed a while back. I planned to help focus my mind on what ideas from my Pinterest board I still wanted use and also to help prevent that moment of panic, especially on days when I’m out at work for some of the day.

Here’s the plan as it stood on day sixty.

I deliberately made it visual, so drew a representation of what the square looked like. Seeing it all laid out made me both really happy and focussed. I began to see each row of ten as a mini goal which kept me on track. Ten days is nothing right?

I have been intentional about where the colours came in the layout from the start but seeing it laid out on a plan was helpful. I also love looking back at the photos I’ve taken of them all arranged on the floor.

I also tried to make the squares different as they sat side by side, above and below. If I’d done a central large heart the day before or on the row above I tried to do a smaller random pattern for the next one etc…

I still love, love this project and am thinking about what I have learned this time around. I’ll come back and share those thoughts and then of course the sewing begins so I can turn my squares into a quilt!

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Here is my intro post to the 2018 project and my thoughts on 25 days down. And here is the post I wrote at the beginning of the 2017 project with this one summing up my thoughts at the end of those 100 days last year.

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Photo a Day – Week Twelve and Thirteen

Still playing catch up…….

Preparations for sweet pea planting.

A trip to the seaside and some camera timer fun!

Light on Clematis.

Fav plant, fav buzzy thing!

A reflective moment.

Lunch.

Adorable pooch.

And again……

This area of the garden is getting an overhaul soon!

Another lunchtime in the gardens at Roundhay Park.

Making dream catchers.

Gav and I went to London. This is the view from the Tate over the Thames to St Pauls.

We did a lot of climbing steps that weekend. Here we were at the top of St Pauls Cathedral.

Love a sign. I assume this is an old one still in use at the tube station.

And there we go. Not quite caught up but getting there.

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Timely Reminder

I’ve just read a wonderful post over here. I adore this blog, her outlook on life, her words, her photos.

It made me feel like I needed to write something today so here I am.

The day did not start as planned. We were out last night at Gav’s uncles Diamond Wedding Anniversary do. Diamond Wedding! Consequently we were home late and I slept in. I hate sleeping in (actually I LOVE sleeping in!) because the rest of the day seems over too quickly somehow and I end up shortening our morning walk so I can get home for that first cup of coffee. Then while Bud and I were walking our shortened walk I got a text from my older niece to say she was visiting my Mum with our newest addition, my great niece, so the walk was shortened even more and off I went to see them all.

I got my first cup of coffee there while I watched this 11 month old walking and laughing and being so crazily stubborn about going all those places she shouldn’t. Looking quizzically at an old toy phone my Mum brought out then at a mobile and wondering what the old one was. Technology eh? She doesn’t recognise an old phone! Anyway, it was an hour of loveliness and a timely reminder to live and love and enjoy even on days that don’t begin quite as we’d hoped.

Happy Sunday!

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