Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Easter Tree and a Ta Dah!!

Hello my lovelies, I hope I find you well? Are you enjoying this beautiful weather? Are you bearing in mind this will probably be our summer like it has been the last two years?!!

I have made an Easter tree, I've wanted one the last couple of years and never got around to it but when I found some plastic eggs in Poundland that were begging to be painted I couldn't resist:

Naturally, I used Annie Sloan paint on them and then decoupaged them with Cath Kidston tissues:

See, this is where Mr G works while I faff around with stuff....

They were originally on my Christmas twigs but on Sunday our neighbour chopped down his huge twisted hazel so I begged him for some branches. I had been eyeing the tree for the last few weeks wanting a few twigs but the branches were too high, when I saw our neighbour up his ladders I was out there like a shot!!

Now for the Ta Dah - when I saw Sarah's tutorial over at Annaboo's House for her fabulous Croch-shade I had to have a go:

Notice the schoolgirl error where I ran out of pink so had to do the last bit plain?

I've been trying to sort out our holiday, we've booked a caravan in an olive grove on Zakynthos but to save money are flying to the mainland so I have been trying to coordinate flights, ferries, car hire - and am already beginning to wonder whether it's worth all the effort!!

Plus it was a bit of a shock to find out it'll cost £350 for the dogs to go into kennels - it'd be cheaper to take them with us I reckon!!

Anyway, have a lovely week....


S x


Saturday, 24 March 2012

Ode To The Horse....

Where in this wide world can man find nobility without pride, friendship without envy or beauty without vanity? 

Here, where grace is laced with muscle, and strength by gentleness confined.

He serves without servility; he has fought without enmity. 

There is nothing so powerful, nothing less violent, there is nothing so quick, nothing more patient.

England’s past has been borne on his back. 

All our history is his industry; we are his heirs, he our inheritance.

The Horse!

By Ronald Duncan

The above poem is a favourite of mine and I think very eloquently illustrates how civalisation owes so much to horses, without them we would not be where we are now - there would never have been agriculture (no plough horses); no travel of any distance; ultimately no cars - which is why I get cross if I experience people who think horses "shouldn't be on the road" - without horses there wouldn't even be any roads!! 

I don't talk too much here on my blog about my horses as I know people who are not "horsey" tend to glaze over!!

However, yesterday we watched the movie "War Horse" and so today after taking the new camera to the yard I felt I wanted to share some pics of my little herd.

I had a break from horses and then in 2005 started collecting them!! The above pic of the beautiful eye is TC "The Colonel" - he is a Suffolk Punch X (a heavy draft breed) and huge - I utterly adore him and if I could I would let him sleep on my bed!!:

The next horse that came to live with me was Crofter - he is 31 years old this year (the average age of a horse is 25):

Next to join the herd was Jasmin - she is a Shetland and I got her to be a friend for Crofter for when TC was in the stable but they hated each other on sight!!:

Finally, we have King - my gorgeous gypsy cob:

It was beautiful at the stables today, I really love this time of year - the weather for me is perfect - not too hot and not too cold:

The lane my field is on (that's the gate to the right)

Mr G reluctantly had his picture taken:

I'm really loving my new camera - Ashley from Country Rose  and I have booked to go on a photography workshop next week so hopefully we'll get some tips on taking really good photos.

I hope you're all having a lovely weekend....


S x

Thursday, 22 March 2012

A New Toy (and I'm Loving It Already!!)....

Yesterday we took delivery of our first ever proper camera:
It's a Canon EOS 550D - an entry level DSLR but by far the fanciest camera we've ever had. Of course I spent a lot of time playing with it so you may find this post a wee bit picture heavy!!

Chico - our (very noisy) orange-winged Amazon - who has started shouting the cat this week!!

Milo, who hates having his photo taken....
Daisy, eating her hide rugby ball on the sofa!!

Yesterday I had a look online to try and learn a bit about aperture/shutter speed/ISO and today had another play - I really like that lovely blur you get in the background of a good shot:
I love this one of my Trollbeads which I collected before I had horses (can't afford both!!)

Mr G is chuffed with it as it can do HD video too (I kinda sold him on the idea with that - you know you have to make them think it's their idea!!)
I'd love to do a photography course but finding one during the day that I don't need a mortgage for is proving difficult, although I have found a 3hr tutorial locally for a good price so I'm going to start with that.
So hopefully this means that here at Shabby Chic Sarah the photo quality will improve - I do love a blog with good photos....
S x

Monday, 19 March 2012

Mothers Day....

Hello my lovelies, did you have a lovely Mothers Day with your children and/or Mums?
I was treated to some lovely cards:
A chocolate pizza:

And some Sass And Belle ribbons on gorgeous wooden spools:

Mr G's Mum and Dad along with my Mum, Sis and niece were due for lunch and I was very lucky as for the third year Mr G cooked - in fact he did everything, including set a pretty table:
I wore a dress/tunic that I made using a pattern from the book Sew Serendipity.

I'm not over keen on the fabric, but I used it as a test run really, as I lost interest in making clothes after having so many that I'd work on, get to the point where I try them on and then look dreadful in them - like a bag of sh1t tied up as my Mum would so eloquently put it!!
My Mum brought me some lovely flowers as has been the tradition for years (up until Christmas Mum was a florist):
 Stargazer lilies, my favourite.

In other news, after signing up I am already addicted to Instagram!! It's so fab, not only can I nosey at everyone's pics but it encourages you to take photos of ordinary moments during the day which will be lovely to look back on.

If you want to follow me I'm shabbychicsarah on there.

I am trying out the Blogsy app for iPad so I can blog without having to having to fire up the laptop, so if this post looks a hot mess then that'll be why - so far I am in two minds, it's taken ages to post this and the photos are tiny. I'm having trouble getting it to do links consistently too....

Any way, nothing much else to report....


S x

Saturday, 17 March 2012

I Hope You Don't Have A Badger In There....

....don't worry it's not a euphemism!! It's what Mr G said to me earlier in the week when I arrived back from the stables. I'll come to that in a minute, first let me show you some shabby chic loveliness....

W and I went to our first car boot of the year last Sunday and I got a couple of bargains:

Cute shabby chic pictures for £2.00

Perfect for either side of my £8.00 refuse tip mirror!!

And pink roses, 3 bunches for £2.00:

Which I have scattered everywhere:

It did cross my mind that as the roses were so cheap they might not last but as of today I have had to throw out a few, the majority are still looking ok.

Now to explain about the badger!! I had gone up to feed my horses and whilst I dished out the buckets Daisy and Milo (our two JRT's) started doing a funny bark - one which clearly means "Mummy look!! Look!! At this funny thing we've found!!" 

They were in the corner of my field shelter dancing about like a pair of loons and I knew it meant they had found a creature of some kind - I recognised it from the times Milo found a sick rabbit and a cornered fox.

Indeed, on closer inspection, this is what I found:

A poorly badger....

It's funny because Mr G and I had only been saying last weekend that we'd never seen a live badger, only dead ones on roads (which led Mr G to conclude that there are either loads of them or they are crap at crossing roads).

Sadly, he wasn't in very good shape - he lifted his head to the dogs but soon snuggled back into a ball. I stood dithering as to what to do whilst the dogs barked at him (I think its quite sweet that despite being terriers they didn't attack him) so I put the dogs back in the car (much to their disgust).

There is virtually no phone signal out where I keep my horses so I marched up and down the lane trying to get a blob on my phone. I rang Mr G and he just said "Leave it alone" but the chap in the cottages opposite and the farmhand agreed that I should call the RSPCA. They said they would come out when they could.

Anyway, to cut a long story short I went to have another look at him and felt so sorry for him I gingerly (as I know they can be nasty)  scooped him into a huge water bucket using a stick (which he attacked!!), he curled back into his ball so I put a fleece over him and popped him the car to take to the local vets.

And they refused to have him!! They said I had to call the RSPCA again or take him on a 60 odd mile round trip to a wildlife sanctuary.

Mr G was unimpressed when I arrived back home with him, not least because he smelt none to fragrant and the car needed fumigating.

Fortunatley, the RSPCA where fabulous - it pains me to say it because as a horse owner I have witnessed them being useless time and time again when it comes to neglected horses but credit where it's due. 

The local inspector called to say that he would come over to fetch the badger - he said that
when badgers get old they get chucked out of the sett by the younger badgers and then wander from sett to sett trying to find somewhere to live - how sad is that? The other badgers then beat them up until they have nowhere left to go and that's probably why he ended up in my shelter.

The inspector popped the badger into a basket using one of those sticks with a loop on the end and said he would take him to the vets on the off chance he could be helped but it didn't look good.

I at least felt as though I had done my best for him....

Hope you've all had a good week and are enjoying the weekend....


S x

Monday, 12 March 2012

Ladies Who Lunch (AKA Blogging Rocks!!)....

Today is one of those lovely days when you realise how much you get out of blogging. 

I spent a lovely lunch with these gorgeous ladies:

Ashley (Country Rose);  Sarah (Annaboo's House);  Me;  Gem (Treasures From The Cherry Tree)

Edited to add: Mr G has just told me I look the by far the oldest in this pic and so any brownie points earned from the fabric softener incident are now cancelled out!!

I started blogging back in Jan 2011 and to begin with it felt as though I was talking to myself, then slowly but surely my followers began to grow. 

Soon, I got to know a handful of ladies via email and then met my first Bloddie (Cuckoo's word: blog + buddy = Bloddie) in real life - the lovely Ashley (above left). 

Since last autumn Ashley & I have become firm friends helped by the fact we only live 12 miles apart. We love all the same things and get on like a house on fire despite me being (literally) old enough to be her mother!!

Recently another Bloddie has moved into the area and so today we had a "road trip" (more about that in a moment!!) to meet Gem from Treasures From The Cherry Tree and Sarah from Annaboo's House for lunch.

Ashley lives between Gem and I and so the plan was for me to go to Ashley's and she would drive on to Gem's.

Gem is renting a lovely 1926 house (why oh why did I end up in a 1970's semi?!!) in a seaside town and the weather when we arrived was glorious - the journey was not. What should have been a 25 minute journey took 2 HOURS 20 MINS!! Can you believe it? All due to a tiny area of roadworks causing miles of tailbacks that were literally at a standstill.

Luckily. Ashley's gorgeous baby daughter Rose was very well behaved or it could have been stressful as well as very annoying.

We were very pleased to be welcomed into the open arms of Gem and Sarah - meeting people for the first time can cause some nervousness, but the minute I saw Gem I knew there was going to be none of that as I felt as though I had known her for ages.

We were treated to a lovely lunch (home-baked cheese scones, yum!!) and for pudding Trifle Crawfords ;0) 


After lunch we had a hilarious "photo shoot" to get piccies for our blogs - the only one I am willing to show you is the one of the four of us above - I consistently have a funny gammy looking eye and/or a Johnny Vegas chin!!

The lunch was all too short due to our delay in arriving and soon we had to leave, with promises to do it again soon Ashley and I set off home taking a detour to avoid the traffic (but still taking nearly an hour to get back!!)

Despite the traffic issues, it really was a lovely way to spend an afternoon and made me grateful once again for everything I get from Blogland....


S x

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Tea And A Random Natter....

Hello my lovely ladies, I have been trying to blog on and off this afternoon, but I dripped some of the below cuppa on my laptop (which is already on it's last legs) and the keyboard then did the most random things - putting in six letters and numbers when I just wanted a letter "U" and all manner of annoying things. So I am now on Mr G's laptop.

You've gotta love a Tunnock's Teacake....

I still haven't worked out how (or even "if") I can upload blog pics on my iPad - maybe I need to look at the mobile blogging apps?

This is a mixed post of randomness - first of all before I forget, if you look in my sidebar to the right you will see links to follow me on Facebook and Pinterest - I added them weeks ago and kept forgetting to tell you. If you're on Pinterest do let me know in the comments as I'd love to follow you too - I am *addicted* to it!!

On Saturday Mr G and I ventured forth to do the grocery shopping - whilst we perused the aisles of Morrisons I was touched by something very mundane and silly. I was looking at wash powder when Mr G tapped me on the shoulder and said "Here, I've got your favourite softener" and put it in the trolley:

Do you know, I thought that was so romantic?!! That Mr G knew which one was my favourite!!  I was really touched. I told him so and Mr G just rolled his eyes, but I wouldn't have thought for a minute he would have known as I confess I have no idea what his fave car wax (for example) is!!

Isn't it nice to find special moments in the hum drum daily chores in life?

This week we have been looking at a holiday. We haven't had a proper holiday since the year before my Dad died (2008) and we all went to France for a week. 

Before that we were spoiled as my Mum had a villa in Catalonia, Spain and for four years we had had many happy times there:

Casa Araminta - (so named because it's long been my Mum's fave girls name and she thought she wasn't getting a grand-daughter. Then my Sis had a little girl and she is Evie Araminta - Mum calls her by her second name....)

Gosh, looking at these makes me miss it - we love, love, loved it there....

Sadly, after my Stepdad had a stroke (which thankfully he recovered  from) he and Mum made the decision to sell it.

Last year we didn't go away on the basis we would try and get to Florida this year. We have never been to the USA and we want to go before the boys are too old.

However, looking into I don't think that's going to be possible as it's just so expensive. I really don't know how anyone can afford it. We thought by September this year we could save about £3500 to go and I am staggered that that wouldn't be enough.

We're looking at a minimum of £2000 for the package of flights/accommodation (I've looked at doing villa/flights separately and that's even more!!) and then passes for Universal Studios/Busch Gardens/Wet 'n Wild/Kennedy Space Center are a further £1000, that's before car hire and spending money!!

How do people afford it? And as Mr G says, even if we could we'd baulk at spending £5000 for a holiday.

So, we are now looking closer to home and have more or less settled on a little static mobile home in a private olive grove on the Greek island of Zakynthos.

Yesterday, I bought fabric:

At just £4.25 per metre I bought a half metre of four kinds - they really had a lovely selection, I could have gone really mad in there.

I've also ordered some cowboy print FQ's from eBay as I want to make a little baby quilt for a couple at my stables who are expecting their first baby together - they ride western, have a bow top wagon and love all things cowboy so I thought it would be perfect.

Phew, I think that's all I have to report for now - thanks so much (as always) for reading....


S x

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Last Week...

Hello all - are you having a good weekend?

I haven't blogged all week, partly due to our camera playing up. I think it knows it's days are numbered (we hope to get our DSLR at the end of March) and so on Sunday when we went out for a walk en famille it decided it was going to refuse to retract the lens cover fully thus rendering itself unusable.

So, I have been taking pics on my phone instead and I have finally got around to connecting the lead to the laptop to upload them.

Last Sunday we went to Leigh Park Gardens for a walk, we had been meant to go further afield but I had cricked my back on the Friday doing a jigsaw (yep, really!! Leaning over the low coffee table for hours did it).

There were lots of trees to climb:

Just after this photo was taken there was a bit of incident (fortunately not involving little boys and trees!!) 

A large Staffordshire bull terrier came hooleying out of nowhere, completely out of control and right up to Daisy (our girl JRT) who was on the lead as she is not good with other dogs and was getting used to her muzzle. It does annoy me when owners allow their loose dogs to run up to other dogs that are on the lead.

Anyway, off it went, only to reappear moments later, whereupon it hurtled into me at lightening speed, my legs went from under be and I landed flat on my (already sore) back.

I. Was. Livid. I gingerly got up to see the owner (a young woman) laughing her head off. I confess she got the sharp edge of my tongue and I sent her off with a flea in her ear!!

Mr G was to be highly commended as he managed not to pee himself laughing - something I am not sure I could have done had the boot been on the other foot!!

Fortunately, we were able to continue with our walk despite my sore bum/back and we had quite a few photo opps:

I particularly like this one:

I must show you a close up of my (silly) hair do - it's one of the ones (along with pigtails) that I am, at 39, way too old for but I wear anyway:

I call them my "teddy bear ears"....

The rest of the week has been uneventful, just the usual pottering, looking after horses, sewing and so on. I did finish my tea cosy which is a shameful copy of the one my friend Ashley over at Country Rose has done (we both used the pattern by Crochet With Raymond):

Now I must love you and leave you as Mr G is waiting for me to go out (grocery shopping, nowhere exciting!!)


S x