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Bloom 2019 – The Minimal One

The last few days have seen me sorting out all my photos and moving the last couple of months over to our external hard drive. When you live with a computer programmer backing up is a necessary action. Plus my little lap top can’t hold all the thousands of photos I snap.

All that to say that I’ve found more flower arrangement photos I’d forgotten about! So here is one from earlier in the summer.

I went for very arty minimal! And I seem to remember not liking it much at the time and I’m still not keen but it is part of my flower arranging story so it’s good to document and learn.

What I do love is the colour combo. Those amazing ‘Sooty’ Dianthus barbatus (sweet williams) mixed with the dark Centaurea cyanus (cornflowers) and the elongated raceme’s of the Amaranthus. The zingy contrast of the orange-red Crocosmia sets off those deeper tones bringing the combinations of colour together well. It’s just the sparce arrangement I’m not happy with.

Really glad I found these photos though as I definitely want to try that colour combo out again next year.

The Gelato

Ice-cream is one of my very favourite things. And gelato is even better. So when we went to Italy we ate all the gelato we could.

I know what you’re thinking….. isn’t gelato just Italian for ice-cream? Simple answer no. The main difference is that gelato has more milk than cream so freezes at a lower temperature and is denser in consistency. It does taste smoother somehow too. I don’t know if I could pick gelato out from ice-cream in a taste test but for research purposes I’m happy to give it a whirl……

Before we went on our holiday I did some research and had about five gelateria’s in mind for us to visit during our stay.

In Lucca we went to Piniko and Grom. I had such delights as mango, coffee and nocciola (hazelnut).

In Venice we wandered to find Fantasy Gelato and I tried pistachio, stracciatella and peach.

In the little town on the coast, Lido di Camaiore, we visited Modo and at Viareggio,  Kremmy. Gav liked Kremmy best as they were very friendly and helpful. Translating the flavours for us and letting us try before we bought.

I loved our first visit to Modo not only because we’d walked and walked to get there so it was a perfect reward but also that just ahead of us into the shop went a large Italian family.  Each member of the family stepped up to the counter, chose their gelato and headed to the seating area on the promenade to tuck into the yummy dessert. And the best bit of that scene was that the Grandad paid for all the family. It was a lovely sight to witness.

I had more pistachio and I tried out chocolate and fig. And at Kremmy more hazelnut strawberry and nutella.

Finally in Florence we went to Grom again and Vivoli. Not sure which flavours I had but they were very good.

If you’ve ever watched the movie City Slickers then you’ll recall the scene where Billy Crystals character is testing another characters knowledge of what ice cream goes with different foods. Pretty sure those ice-cream making pair in the movie were supposed to be Ben and Jerry! Anyway, I felt a bit like that stood in front of all that gelato. I wanted to get a good combination of flavours in my cup. I can honestly admit that I didn’t achieve that goal. But they were all delicious in their own right so I’m not complaining and I think my favourite was the hazelnut.

Now to hunt up so gelato and keep practicing!

Layout Share – Chef Mickey’s

There were so many memorable times from our ten day stay in Disney I can’t count them all. But this one is up there as a favourite.

Breakfast @ Chef Mickey’s

Here’s the story –

One hundred and eighty days in the planning! So glad I booked this character breakfast. You have to throw yourself into the fun, try mot to get nervous, get up and shake hands and strike a pose with these guys. The food was plentiful and hello Mickey shaped waffles… It was full on FUN and a great adventure in the Disney experience. I mean c’mon even Gav got up and joined in the fun. Really loved this so. 

No other words needed!

Photo a Day – Week Twenty Nine and Thirty

Back to everyday life. However everyday life was filled with nature these two weeks (and hopefully every week right?)

A path in the woods.

Sunrise.

Found on my lunchtime walk.

Amaranthus.

Got the big camera out while the sun was shining.

Took my BFF away for her birthday and this was the view from our hotel window!

The we went to Tatton Park, more on that garden soon but for now these were the lovely pumpkins in the vegetable garden.

I adore this photo. The blue sky, the living fence to give a linear structure and the light on that beautiful Dahlia.

Texture, colour and contrast.

Got so lucky on my walk to work! Wish I’d had the big camera but still love this photo. And that tree is the one we played rounders by last year.

Another pretty Dahlia.

More pretty light this time peeking through and illuminating the greenhouse.

Almost time for this darling tree to come into the limelight for December.

Cheerful Rudbeckia brightening up the border.

And there we go.

Bloom 2018 – Little Suns

Popping in to share these pretty sunflowers. These yellow ones have come to an end now in the garden but luckily I have the photos to remember them by.

Somewhere I will have written down what variety these are but I can’t locate that information at the moment……grr! They are little stars in the way of prettiness and classic sunflower colouring. Not tall plants but they do keep on producing flowers with the perfect length of stem for my arrangements, so I must have more next year.

Right now though I have been charged with some weeding, my least favourite garden job and since the sun is shining brilliantly I better just get on with it…..

The 100 Day Project 2018 – Thoughts on the Completed Project

It’s over three months since I made my final heart on fabric for this years 100 Day Project! Where does the time go?

I did really well at sewing the squares together and finished that part of the quilt a few weeks after the end of the project. The time lapse is partly to do with me, the well known fact that crafts go in seasons with me, and partly that I have struggled to get a good photo of the quilt top.

I had it in my head that I wanted to hold up the quilt top not lay it down as I had all through the 100 days. After my second ‘photo shoot’ I should have given up and just laid it on the floor but I was stubborn and tried again.

Argh…… still blurry and with shadows but here it is.

Back at day eighty four I promised to return here and share what I learned from doing this project. I’ve just gone back and read my roundup post for last year to see what I thought about that project (I’ve linked all past post’s below).

What I mentioned in that post was that I’d surprised myself by completing the 100 days and that I was happy to have carved 15-30 minutes out of my day to craft.

Both of those thoughts are true this time around. I had set a more challenging project but still completed it and I made the time to do it.

I also simply love what I have made. I love that I tried new techniques, learnt about fabric paint (grr) and stamping with ink on fabric. That I used a well loved blouse, a sheet my sister gave me and mostly materials I had on hand for the squares. That I carved my own heart stamps, used a colour palette and fell in love with applique.

I think my biggest takeaway should be that I can do it. I may tweak and make it work for me but I can do it.

What I would really like to do then is believe this of myself day in and day out. I have a dream to sell things that I make. But I do not believe I can. I don’t really try to do it. There are a dozen reasons why I don’t. Excuses I should say, not reasons. There are too many folk already doing it, it will cost more that it makes, I don’t have people skills to sell things, nothing I make will be good enough………..

Perhaps I need to look long and hard at those 100 quilt squares and realise that I can do it if I want to and stop all the excuses? Maybe I will. We will see.

In the meantime I am already looking forward to 100 days 2019 and planning to finish the quilt obviously!

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Here is my intro post to the 2018 project and my thoughts on 25 days down and at 80 days. 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.

Layout Share – Checking In

Still more stories to tell from our 2017 adventures!

Checkin’ in

Here’s the story –

The magic is here. At last we made it. A long journey today but it is so good to be here. Our base for the next ten days Caribbean Beach Resort. Custom House where we checked in was cool and exotic a perfect tribute to its name. And the air con was perfect too a must in this heat…… It was so exciting to get our magic bands and all the information of course. The $750 gift card for the building work issue..cher-ching! Then off we went to our rooms. No key needed you just blip the band. Oh Yes!

Just typing that out makes me all nostalgic for Disney and eager to share the other pages I’ve made so far about this part of the trip. Such great fun was had.

Photo a Day – Week Twenty Seven and Twenty Eight

The holiday continues…….

Not sure if I mentioned exactly where we went. Above is the picturesque town of Lucca in Tuscany. Above is the view from our first Italian pizza lunch spot.

Then Venice the following day and a rare opportunity on a quite street for a timer shot.

Lucca again and we borrowed bikes from out hotel and cycled about. This ‘street’ is actually on top of the wall that circles the town! Yep it’s that wide and is pretty amazing. The locals and tourists alike use it a their open space, their park and it is a magnificent treat to see.

I keep trying to perfect these shots…… I’m composing a blog post on my more recent attempts at selfies.

We moved on to the coast and on our first evening caught the sunset.

I began a new Dropcloth sampler after buying a pair of scissors from the supermarket. So cute!

The grounds of the hotel were filled with flowers.

A day trip to Pisa. More on that soon too. Love how the Cathedral and the famous tower are the tallest buildings around.

Loved the pool here and the light.

And for our final stop on this Tuscan tour we headed to Florence.

Many many stunning buildings and many, many motorbikes!

We stumbled upon an old fashioned photo booth.

Last look around this amazing place. I liked the sliver of the famous Duomo in amongst the other buildings.

And home to him.

And that was our summer holiday.

What I’ve been Reading – July, August and September 2018

Well. My reading went off the rails a little over the summer. I picked a book from the pile to start off July and kept trying to read it but in the end I decided I wasn’t bothered about finding out who the murderer was (shocking I know!) and I put it down. That wasted most of the month. I am so picky with my books that I very rarely put one down without finishing it but sometimes is has to be done.

I went back to familiar territory I’m afraid after that little disaster. The Enemy by Lee Child. This is the only photo I have of the cover as I’ve returned it to my sister who is keeper of the Reacher collection!

I think it’s pretty clear that I like these books! Quickly read and enjoyed.

After that it was more familiarity with The Attenbury Emeralds by Jill Patton Walsh based on the characters of Dorothy L. Sayers. Really liked this one. Patton Walsh has taken these well loved folk and made them even more loveable.

Our holiday began with more Reacher, Tripwire by Lee Child. If you recall my sister and I are trying to buy all these books second hand and this one, the third in the series has been tricky to find. But she located a copy and kindly let me read it first.

And then I went back to good old Stephanie Plum. I read this one on the kindle so no photo. It was quick and I admit the same old same old. But for a holiday read it was fine.

So there we are three months and only four books so I’m still playing catch up. My tally for the year is sixteen. Better get cracking if I’m going to make it to twenty four!

The Click Tick List – Sail on the Grand Canal

This is one of those things that I added to my list because it felt easy-ish to accomplish, after all Italy isn’t too far from me yet it also felt like something that I’d never do. Perhaps this was because I couldn’t see us parting with the money to hire a gondola!

Enter then the Vaporetto. A water bus.

When we were planning our summer trip to Tuscany I added a day trip to Venice into the mix. It is not close but it was closer than Leeds so I thought we could make the train journey and I could cross something off my list.

The ride on the Vaporetto was the main event. And Gav did an amazing job of planning where we should get on and off the bus and then how to spend the rest of the afternoon. It worked out great.

We visited Venice on another day trip about 20 years ago and I admit that I didn’t like it all that much. Yes, it was beautiful and quirky but oh so crowded. Still I wanted to go back and take that boat trip and I am so glad I did because I fell in love with the quieter streets and the bridges, oh the bridges!

But this story is not about the bridges. This story is about the canal and all its beautiful buildings lining the waters edge. We hopped on board at the train station.

Loved that traffic light in the picture below!

Seeing the city from the water was perfect and I guess this is how it should be viewed.

Managed to snap a reflection of us while we were docked.

After thirty minutes or so we came to the San Marco basin where the canal opens up into a bigger area of water and where we disembarked.

The building in the below photo is the Doge’s Palace with the domes of San Marco’s Basilica in the background.

And to finish us off one of the perfect little bridges. Oh yes, the large white bridge at the top of this post is the Rialto Bridge a spectacular and grand example which has shops actually on it!

So there we go a memorable trip on a water bus that can be crossed of the list!