Thursday, 30 September 2010

The Last of the Summer

Earlier this year I decided to make some changes in my garden, out came a huge clump of bamboo which was spreading everywhere. If you ever buy a bamboo plant and are told it is a non spreading variety, treat the information, with a pinch of salt! Bamboo likes to travel.
Down came an enormous Silver Birch which was shading a large part of the garden and taking all the moisture from the soil. Now I had sunshine and an empty flower bed to plant.
I had visions of a haze of Verbena Bonariensis floating above the lower planting, the edge of the bed grounded by a row of Box balls.

In went a small Olive tree that had been in a pot for years, white Scabious, blue and white Lupins and Lavender were planted along with annual Nicotiana Sylvestris to fill the gaps whilst the perennials grew.
Now at the end of September a lot of the flowers are over, but the Nicotiana plants have been stars, flowering their heads off.

And there is the Verbena hovering above the rest of the planting, including the weeds which are growing like mad!

Just behind this new flowerbed I have a good crop of apples on my row of fruit trees, and the hot early summer has done wonders for the grapevine. I have never seen so many grapes.

No good for eating, but the birds will love them, they need to fill up now it will be winter soon.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010


Jars of vintage buttons on a shelf in my workroom. I can't resist them. Glass, pearl, metal or plastic, it doesn't matter, I love them all.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

My Favourite Tree

This is a Catalpa Bignonoides Aurea, also known as an Indian Bean Tree.
Every winter I pollard it and am rewarded by lime green leaves six to eight inches across.
Yes they really are this colour!

It lights up a corner of my garden, and provides a bright backdrop to other plants in a bed beyond the trellis, that divides the garden.

In the summer it has sprays of frilly spotted white flowers like foxgloves, and then long thin seed pods which stay on the tree long after the leaves have gone.

A native of the south eastern states of America, it seems to like my garden in the south east of England.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Dried Hydrangeas

On top of the chest of drawers in my spare bedroom, sits a collection of some of my favourite things.
I like to rearrange them from time to time, but they all take their cue from a crackle glazed pot of dried hydrangeas.

The natural colour is picked up by my miniature dressmaker's dummy.

The pink blush on the flowers a perfect match with the shell's soft pink interior.

Throw in the sparkle of a collection of perfume bottles and the wavy edge of a frilly glass dish.

The glow of mother of pearl and the black accents of an old sheet of music, perfectly complements the papery flowers.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Paste and Pearl

A small, heavy, aged metal casket with a torn and shredded blue lining is the perfect container for the paste and mother of pearl treasure I found recently.

Spilling out of this little casket a confection of bright sparkle and creamy iridescence.

Two mother of pearl rosaries, one with a golden cross the other with mother of pearl.

Old paste pieces and an arrow pin pointing at a beautiful art deco brooch.

A beautiful mother of pearl brooch in the shape of a leaf with an acorn, and more old paste embellishments

Intricately carved mother of pearl buttons, too beautiful to use as fastenings, an art deco brooch and an old paste dress clip.

They go so beautifully together, Paste and Pearl.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Out of the Blue

Battered, scuffed and missing half its lock, this little blue jewellery box holds treasure I found the other day at my favourite antiques fair.

The blue kept turning up everywhere I looked.

A tattered card of tiny blue glass buttons, made in czechslovakia.

A dazzling paste brooch with
vibrant blue stones.

A Rosary with pale blue glass beads and what looks like a silver cross.

The sweetest chipped enamel horseshoe brooch, with a pair of love birds perched in the centre.

Was I blue? Not at all.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Tourist for a day

Recently I had the opportunity to be a tourist in London for the day.
I commuted into central London for 13 years, so I know my way around, but being a tourist is very different. With time to concentrate on famous landmarks, to wonder at the architecture and history of the city.
In the company of my husband's Spanish family, we set out from Maidenhead and took the train to Paddington, then the tube to Baker Street.

If you look at the map, it is in the top left.
Here we caught an open topped sightseeing bus, wonderful for seeing the city, but we had chosen one of the busiest days of the year for our trip.
An estimated 2 million tourists were in London!
So no seats on the open top deck for us.

We followed the red route to Westminster where we decided to take a river cruise to Greenwich.

Big Ben looked magnificent, only the day before men had cleaned the glass on the clock faces.

The London Eye has become as much of a symbol of london as Big Ben, this must be the perfect English summer sky

As we travelled down the river to Greenwich we passed under Tower Bridge, it's architecture a gothic confection.

The cloud was building and the trip on the river became distinctly chilly.
Reaching Greenwich we visited the market, too dark and crowded for photographs, but this is a flower shop just outside the entrance.

Not looking forward to a chilly return journey on the river, we took the Docklands Light Railway back into central London.
Glimpsing Canary Wharf and expensive apartments built with views over the old docks, now home to small and not so small private boats.

From the Embankment we walked up to Trafalgar Square, marvelling at Nelsons Column in the afternoon sunshine.

And took a group shot of our Spanish family about to get wet with spray from the fountain.

From there a stroll to Covent Garden, the crowds were huge, and the sky getting more threatening by the minute.

The rooftops of old Covent Garden Market in the last shafts of sunshine.

Then back to the Strand to finish the bus tour and the heavens opened. No more photographs, typical English weather, changeable!
What a fantastic day.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Jane and Emma

I discovered these two in a box of paper ephemera. They remind me of Jane Austen characters.................

                               One sweet and demure...............

                            the other bossy and opinionated!

Meet them both in my etsy emporium soon.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

The Lion and the Unicorn

The Lion and the Unicorn were fighting for the crown.
The Lion beat the Unicorn all round the town.

Some gave them white bread, some gave them brown.
Some gave them plum cake and drummed them out of town.

This rhyme dates from 1603 when James V1 of Scotland became James 1 of England
unifying the Scottish and English Kingdoms.

The vintage military badges will be available at after September 9th.