Friday, 29 April 2011

Don't You Just Love A Wedding?

I must confess that despite having mixed feelings regarding the Royals I have been sooooo excited about this wedding!!

I think it is because of all the Royal family Princes William and Harry are probably the most down to earth and well loved. They seem connected to us as their people more than any of the older generations of the family.

I also remember very clearly watching Diana and Charles marry when I was just a little girl of 9, I remember William being born, and him losing his mother so young.

So, it was with great excitement I awake this morning to prepare for the wedding!! We had family over to watch, with a traditional English "afternoon tea" (allbeit in the morning!!) and we sat glued!!

I must confess to having a blub several times throughout the morning, beginning with when William and Harry left for Westminster Abbey.

Kate's dress was just stunning!!: 

Look at that train - a statement but not stupidly long:

As Kate reached the alter William whispered "You are beautiful"....

Breaking with tradition Kate and William kissed not once, but twice on the balcony of Buckingham Palace:

And so they became the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge....

We celebrated with lots of good things to eat - from front back we have Nephew; Son #1; Neice & Son #2:

We watched the action unfold on the BBC and in HD the images of Westminster Abbey were just breathtaking as was the sweeping music.

We do do pomp and circumstance so very well in this country and I have to say that I feel very proud to be British today....

I hope you are all having a lovely day?

S x

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Sweet Peas and Magazines....

Yesterday Hubby built me a little bed to house my sweet peas:

Last year I had three little plants and they gave me a small vase of fragrant blooms from June-Sept. This year I have planted, ahem, 36 plants!! In front of them my dahlias have gone out so this is going to be the "cut flower" bed. I'll post further pics as it grows....

I have only recently become a reader of Country Homes & Interiors and Country Living. I love all the gorgeous interiors and find the magazines a huge source of inspiration but I do wonder if it's those of us that yearn for a country home that actually buy the majority of copies rather than those lucky individuals that have a country home?

This is the new issue, I couldn't believe how *me* one of the homes featured is:

I love this sofa with the Greengate quilt used as a throw - I am definitely going to do this on the elderly sofa in our conservatory. 

We have a running joke as we always have family cast off sofas (in fact we've never had a new one!!) - we've had three of my sisters sofas and one from my Mum!! Indeed, next time my sister shops for a suite I think we should go along as well to approve it!!

The conservatory sofa came back with my sister from America 10 years ago and is a huge tweed affair but it becoming worn on the cushions so a beautiful quilt like the one above would be a perfect solution.

How much Cath Kidston can you spot in this pic?:

And after seeing this one, I am now wanting a CK tablecloth for the conservatory table:

Their gorgeous conservatory:

After being hopeless with money in our youth I think we are probably stuck in our 1970's semi - but it is in a very quiet cul-de-sac; on the edge of the countryside; not overlooked; has a nice garden, perfectly sized for us and I am busy covering the interior with shabby chic loveliness.

Maybe one day I will get my Edwardian rectory with an AGA, open fires in every room and the horses in the garden but until then it's all good....

Monday, 25 April 2011

Been Busy With The Makes....

Today is my little niece Evie's 5th birthday - she is the first girl in our family in the last seven births so is thoroughly spoilt:

Isn't she just gorgeous?

I am chuffed because Evie seems to have the Horsey Gene that I have. Both my boys don't have it so it is lovely to have a child that loves horses as much as I do. She got lots of horsey presents and next week she is having a pony party for her birthday and I am hoping that my sister will now let her have riding lessons (I bought her her first lesson last year but it was decreed she was too young by her Dad, lol).

We met my Sister, BIL, nephew and neice along with Nannie on the common near the seafront for a picnic. I made these to take (this was just the first batch I made lots more!!):

Double Choc Chip Cookies

I don't bake very often as I am trying to lose weight *rollseyes* (even though since Christmas I have struggled to get my head back around it - I managed to lose 2st before December but just can't get in the right headspace ATM).

These cookies worked out really well, they aren't pretty but they had just the right about of crunch and gooeyness.

You need:

200g brown sugar (I only had demerara)
200g white sugar
200g butter
450g plain flour
100g dark choc
100g milk choc
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 x eggs

Mix the butter with the sugars, add the egg and mix. Stir in flour and chopped up chocolate. Add vanilla.

Drop onto a lined tray (I lined mine with silicone liners) and bake in batches for 10-12mins at 180 degrees C.

Makes about 20 cookies, so if you are not baking for a family picnic you might want to half it!!

I made Son#2 a school bag:

I finished a crochet cushion:

TBH I am not crazy about the colours but I wanted to use it up and I like the wavy pattern.

And I completed the trim on my plain white pillowcases:

I got the idea from You Go Girl's tutorial but I just looked at the pic and did my own thing rather than following the pattern so I am not sure the shells are exactly right. I liked the idea of bright cotton crocheted onto plain white so that's what I did.

I also finished a dress this weekend, though I am not happy with the pic of me in it so I will show you that another time!!

Hope you are all having a lovely bank holiday?

S x

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Happy Easter - Where Do You Blog?

Happy Easter my sweeties!! I hope you all got at least one lovely egg? I was super surprised by Hubby with this:

I didn't expect an egg because I don't know when he sneaked out and got it - we're very lucky as Hubby works from home and the only time he has been out this week was on his motorbike and with tight leathers and no topbox goodness knows how he got it home!!

I didn't get him an egg, instead I bought him these froggy pants (don't worry it's not a link to Hubby wearing them, just the pants on the Asda website!!)

We have a running joke because I insist on buying him all manner of Kermit themed t-shirts which he moans about but then wears anyway (so I reckon he secretly likes them!!) My favourite of which is this one:

When wearing this one Hubby always gets lots of attention from the ladies (including a whole hen party when he went to collect a takeaway!!) and therefore we call this particular Kermit top his "Pulling T-Shirt"!!

Where Do You Blog?

I took a picture to show you where I usually blog:

Sat in "my corner" which is on the old sofa in the conservatory with the coffee table in front of me - to my left is a wall of windows overlooking the garden and Hubby sits at the dining table (you can see his chair and coffee in the background, I made him move while I took the pic as he was making the place look untidy!!) 

If I am not out playing with the ponies or in my sewing room I can be found in my corner....

Where do you blog?

Hope you are having a lovely weekend....

S x

Friday, 22 April 2011

Noteworthy Things....

Five Noteworthy (to me anyway) Things That Have Happened In The Last 24 Hours....

  • The bluebells in our front garden are blooming - I love bluebells and every year make sure we walk in the woods to see the carpets of them. Then a few years ago a few clumps appeared out of nowhere in our garden.

  • Jasper (pictured above) who is a housecat, escaped from his garden pen and refused to be caught. He skipped around the neighbours gardens and when I finally managed to get hold of him, he sunk his claws in my shoulder, I dropped him and he trotted off thinking he was the cats pyjamas.
  • Bear also escaped but he allowed us to catch him straight away as he can't resist the chance of a cuddle.

  • My dahlias are growing. It's my first time planting them and they look so uninspiring when they come out of their packet - sad little bulby, rooty things. After a few days on the conservatory windowsill tiny, tiny shoots began to appear and now they are growing before our very eyes!! 

  • Son#2 (right) has had a friend sleep over and the two of them and Son#1 have been up and down all night. Literally, ALL NIGHT. Letting them have fizzy pop and sweeties before bed was Not A Good Idea.
What noteworthy things have happened to you in the last 24hrs?

S x

PS Happy Good Friday....

Thursday, 21 April 2011

A Forgetful Squirrel? And Blogging With Meaning....

First of all, I must show you something.

Hubby got around to cutting the grass and as it had grown rather long he managed to scalp parts of it!! In doing so though, we found several little areas like this:

We have four mature trees in our garden and I think the squirrels that live there must be a little forgetful!! We have a hazel too and the squirrels have been diligently collecting the nuts and storing them for the winter and have then gone and forgotten all about them!!

Blogging With Meaning....

I've been thinking a bit about my blog, and as much as I love to show you around our home and garden and share with you the things I have made, I also want to use my blog to explore "deeper" things. 

Although I love to write I often lack inspiration and so I did a bit of a Google for journalling prompts and found Daydreaming On Paper - this site has daily journalling prompts and it also has an "Inspire Me" button that will randomly generate a prompt for you.

I think this could help my blog have more meaning.

So, in future as well as crafts, shopping, house and home I will try and write more about family, life, love and the universe!!

Why do you blog? I'd love to hear....

S x

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Mod Podge Madness!!

I've recently discovered the magic that is Mod Podge!! 

It has provided a solution to the problem I was having with my dressing table, which I had painted and covered with the  Cath Kidston Antique Rose wallpaper that I have on one wall of the bedroom. I needed something to protect it and didn't think varnish was the answer so when I discovered Mod Podge I thought it would be perfect as it is made especially for decoupaging.

I gave the dressing table and the chest (which belonged to Hubby's granddad) a couple of coats:

I'm now finding myself eyeing up other things with the intention of covering them with CK and Mod Podge!!

S x

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

21 Years Ago Today....

My beloved Granddad died 21 years ago today....

This is my Mum, Granddad and me and was taken on my 16th birthday:

Not sure when this was taken, probably around when I was born in the '70's:

Granddad and I utterly adored each other, he and Nanna lived in Doncaster and we in Nottinghamshire and every chance I got I would go and stay with them.

I have such wonderful memories of my time spent there being spoiled!!

When we moved down south in 1988 Nanna and Granddad came with us to live and sadly not long afterwards Granddad was diagnosed with lung cancer :0(

I miss him very much - our eldest is named after him.

Love you Granddad....

Sunday, 17 April 2011

My Homemade Cath Kidston Bag....

I'm so chuffed, having spent 30 odd years thinking I couldn't sew that I managed this!!

I love Cath Kidston saddle bags, but I don't care too much for the oilcloth - I'd much prefer them in cotton and I also don't care for the £68 price tag so I made my own:

It needs some snaps on the tabs yet....

Inside - I know I should have used a white zip but I only had black and you can't see it when the flap is over....

I hunted around for a similar pattern and found Butterick B4147.

Recently a Cath Kidston outlet store opened in our nearest city and so off I went to look for fabric. As an outlet they get discontinued and sale stuff but this time they only had a very small selection of fabric as they were awaiting new stock.

However, what they did have was a good selection of tablecloths and at £17 for 140cm x 180cm it was a bargain (CK cotton duck is £18 per metre full price and £12 per metre in the outlet). For the lining I bought a couple of tea towels and as these came with a CK label I even had that to add to my bag!!

I sew for a couple of hours in the afternoon either before or after I see to the ponies.

I really enjoyed making it and will definitely make more, I'd like one in every CK pattern!! 

Big hello and welcome to all my new followers, I can't tell you how excited I am to see the number creeping up!!

Hope you're having a lovely weekend? 

S x

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Joining the "Define Your Blog" party....

I recently found the lovely blog Modern Country Style and decided to join in the "Define Your Blog" link party.

It was late last year that I discovered blogs. I mean I knew they were out there but I didn't really "get" it. Someone gave me the link to Posy as they thought I would appreciate her style. Soon after I joined Blogger and learned how to follow all my favourite blogs. 

My list grows by the day and I love to sit with cup of tea to hand to see what my favourite online ladies have been up to. Of course after becoming an avid blog reader it was inevitable that I would want a blog of my own and so "Shabby Chic Sarah" was born.

I was a bit ambivalent about it begin with, having a feeling I was "talking to myself" but as I have gathered a little following I am enjoying it more and more and look forward to the day when I hit 50 followers so I can have a give away!!

I want to use this blog to invite you into my life, to show you my makes and my treasures and to fulfil to a small extent the writer in me (always wanted to be a journalist).

And now before this post becomes too wordy, lets have some photos.

This week was my Mum's birthday, and as is the tradition my Sis and I took her out. This year for the first time my neice joined us too:

Apologies for the quality, the waitress took it and hadn't zoomed in so I had to crop it lots!!

We went to Brasserie Blanc which is Raymond Blanc's bistro for lunch.

A couple of years ago Hubby and I went to Le Manoir Raymond Blanc's fine dining restaurant for lunch and so I was excited to be going to the bistro. Msr Blanc says "If Le Manoir is a fine waltz, then Brasserie Blanc is the Can Can".

I hate to say it but I was a tiny bit disapponted. It was very fishy. I Don't Do Fish. The surroundings, staff and atmoshphere were perfect and my starter (Beetroot and Watercress Salad) was yummy but the main course of Confit of Pork with Flagoulet Beans (which was the only meat option on the set menu) was just not my thing. The meat was a little fatty and not as tender as I had hoped and the beans were a little bland. Sorry Raymond.

They did let us bring a cake for Mum though and we had a slice of that with a nice latte for pudding and that was lovely.

My Sis and I - she Doesn't Do Hugs so always looks a bit tense in photos as I am a Very Huggy Person:

We don't look alike much do we? I always hide behind friends and relatives to give the impression I am smaller than I actually am!!

See the dress I am wearing? I made it!! As you know I recently taught myself to sew after years of thinking I was incapable and this is my first garment made of a stretchy knit fabric (which is meant to be tricky to sew) and I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out:

The fabric was a bargain from eBay and so this dress cost me about a fiver!!

I'm going to do a couple more in a different print as I think it is pretty flattering on my rather voluptuous (love that word!!) frame and also is like wearing a nightie it's so comfortable.

I am doubly pleased it turned out OK as I had lost my clothes making MoJo after the last few garments I made were a disaster (one I spent ages on and then hated as it was super unflattering and then two other disasters involving shortages of fabric and fitting issues) and it had really put me off making clothes.

Lastly, just a huge welcome and thank you to my new followers - I can't tell you how chuffed I am when I see my little counter increasing and to let you know that I truly appreciate you stopping by. Do leave a comment, especially if you have your own blog that I can explore!!

Have a good weekend!!
S x

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Take a Walk in the Garden....

Today we have been doing a little bit of gardening as the weather here continues to be glorious.

We have never been keen gardeners and it is to our shame that until last year we had never made any effort at all and our garden was little more than a patch of grass - now Hubby is still disinclined to cut the grass as often as he should (as you will see in a moment from my pics!!) In actual fact, only yesterday he was saying he wished we could bring one of the horses home to do the job for him!!

Last year we decided that as we now have the conservatory on the back of the house (and therefore spend a good deal of time looking out at the garden) that it was time to Sort It Out.

So, last year at this time Hubby had a week off and we set to work. First were numerous trips to the tip with all manner of junk - and also coming back from the tip with some lovely weathered terracotta planters that someone was chucking out!!

Hubby then built some raised flowerbeds which we filled with plants begged from relatives and strangers!! (We put an ad on Freegle and got a reply from a local lady who let us dig up lots of things as she was redoing her whole garden).

Anyway, by the end of the summer we had a beautiful cottage garden style border thick with flowers and I can't tell you how surprised we were by how much pleasure we got from watching things we had planted grow.

This year, lots of things are coming back and this is what it looks like today (as I said before please forgive the long grass, Hubby is being mutinous about cutting it, I fear I may have to get next doors gardener to do it before long as grass cutting is definitely a Blue Job):

We're hoping the clematis and Russian vine will virtually cover the fence this year - in fact in the height of the summer I swear you can see the vine growing it grows so fast!! 

The forget-me-nots were from Mother-in-Law's garden and we had maybe four little plants last year, this year they have gone mad and spread into a huge clump. They are sweet little flowers:

Yesterday, we planted a little apple tree - Son#1 has been on at us to get one for ages so when I saw them in Wilko for £5.99 I couldn't resist:

Bless, doesn't it look feeble at the moment? 

On the fence behind the tree I am going to get some of those willow planters and plant some sweetpeas. I want a LOT!! Last year I had a few and from June-Sept they kept me supplied with a vase of flowers that smell just heavenly.

At the top of the garden we have four mature trees, so have a mini woodland glade!!:

The trees still look bare from a distance and indeed, they don't get their full leaves until May but if you look closely you can see the little buds. We even have squirrels that live in the trees.

You can also see the boys trampoline. Hubby is busy trying to persuade them that they are now too old and it is time to get rid of it but I think at 10yrs and 12yrs there is plenty of time yet to have fun bouncing!!

We had to move the washing line as it was in the way of the apple tree:

Here you can see my lovely Rosali duvet cover drying in the sun. I do love a proper washing line, a straight, old-fashioned line not one of those ghastly rotary jobs. 

We have a little laurel that we have kind of pruned into a tree and it is currently in full bloom and looking beautiful. I particularly like this as I grew up in a house called "Laurel House" due to the two HUGE laurels in the grounds:

I must also show you the gorgeous Cornish daffs that Hubby bought for me yesterday:

Aren't they lovely? And only £1 for three bunches!! I have been so lucky the last few weeks with Hubby buying flowers as the corner shop has had daffs and he has treated me three times so far.

While I have the camera out I took a pic of the phalenopsis orchid that sits next to me in my little corner of the conservatory:

Isn't it pretty? We have five orchids in total, three here in the conservatory and two in the bathroom and they are currently all in bloom. We are not good with houseplants but these are pretty hardy and best of all they flower for MONTHS at a time.

Finally, I will leave you with a little glimpse of one of my WiP's - will hope to have a Ta-Dah for you later in the week!!:

Keep well!!

S x