Monday, 17 April 2017

Memos, Mail and Me

The very best of good intentions is my theme for my Monday post, linking in with Sian and the other Monday memo makers. Which has nothing at all to do with any intention to restrain myself from eating chocolate for breakfast yesterday.  But if that had been my intention, it is only fair to be honest and say I failed miserably.  No, this is an intention to dust off the sewing machine ...

"Let's completely refurbish the conservatory" said my husband, so we did.  New roof, new windows, new window sills. 

"As it looks so lovely and new again, let's replace the furniture too" he said, so we did.  

"That quilt that Coco likes to sit on when she's enjoying the sun on the sofa out there is looking old and faded" I said, "I'm going to order some new fabric to make a new quilt to pick out the colours of the buttons on the new sofa", so I did. 

"I'm going to make a start on that new quilt as soon as the fabric arrives" I said, but I didn't.  

Before I give you my excuses as to why I haven't even cut out so much as a square of fabric, let me first take your mind off the fact that I've not started what I promised by sharing with you a picture of the fabric that I bought.

I think it will look nice.  
When I get round to cutting it out and sewing it together.  
Which may not be any time soon.  

Because no matter how good my intentions are to get going on that project,  my other mail this week included the ingredients needed to make these ...

We're going to hang a little decorated wicker heart on the end chair of each alternate row along the aisle of the room where Rachel is getting married.  Which means we need 12. I thought I could get away with just winding the stem of each flower into the wicker but I don't think that it's going to be sturdy enough.  So it means that I need to get to grips with a hot glue gun.  Which I have never done before; wish me luck!

I also received the paper to make these ...

My dear friend Denise very kindly cut out the petals for me, and I 'just' have to curl and cut and stick them together to make flowers which will eventually be stuck onto ribbon (more hot glue gun action) to wind round serviettes on the dinner tables at the reception.  Since taking this photo I've done a few more and it total I now have 26 finished roses.   

I need 80.

You see my dilemma - there is no time constraint on making a quilt but I have a deadline for the flowers!  I know it seems like I have a long time but you have no idea how long it takes me to do each flower.

So that's me for this Monday, sitting amid a crumpled heap of metallic foil which once decorated an Easter egg, and trying to get rid of the crumbs of chocolate from the keyboard of the computer.  Let's hide the evidence eh?  

Friday, 14 April 2017

Liberate Your Art 2017

I'm not sure what made me decide to join in with Liberate Your Art for the first time last year.  One of those spur of the moment things I guess, because there is no way on earth that I consider myself an 'artist'.  I have trouble drawing a straight line with a ruler, so there is no paint related artist blood running through my veins!  So when I read through the sign up post I realised that art takes many forms, not just the initial idea of paint on canvas.  I've always been keen to create - whether it be by sewing, knitting or sticking bits of paper onto other bits of paper and creating scrapbook pages - so as a 'newbie' to LYA I photographed things that I had made as examples of my 'art'.

When the LYA mail started arriving last year I discovered that out of the postcards I received, some of my favourites were photographs and I realised that you don't actually have to physically make something for it to be art, that you can make art through the lens of a camera.  I filed that idea away for the coming year's project!

Enough of my history with LYA - let me share some very special mail that has arrived on my door mat within the last couple of weeks.

Aren't they fabulous?

From street life observations, finding art in a close up view of a vintage object, collage, and original art. 

And along the way I've discovered new blogs to check out and new Instagram accounts to follow.  None of which would have happened if I hadn't been brave enough to put my insecurities aside and sign up and join in.  My postcards came from many different states in America and one from Europe.  Yes, one postcard had a very long round trip from Slovenia to America and then America to England!  Now I'm thinking, we need to advertise this more in countries this side of the Atlantic - so please consider joining in next year.  It's always good to receive Happy Mail, be inspired by others and forge new acquaintanceships.

For my postcards this year I didn't photograph 'things' that I had made, but when I was on holiday last year I kept an eye out for things that I thought may be suitable for making into a postcard.   Inspiration came in many ways!  While on holiday in Portugal I found some very clever street art painted onto old crumbling cement walls.  Then while laying on a sunlounger and staring up at the sky I noticed how striking the opening petals of a lily growing on the patio looked against the blue, and on an early morning walk, the blossom on the tree looked pretty with the sun gently shining through the branches.  A trip to the English coastline gave me inspiration for my final card.  I love beach huts, and we are lucky to live in an area which is well known for its colourful huts along the sea front.  These were taken while walking between Frinton on Sea and Walton on the Naze on the Essex coast.  So these were the five postcards that I sent out.

 Please do visit Kat's blog to see the kind of mail which has been travelling between the participants of this year's project. Click here for more information.  Ready for some facts and figures? 

876 pieces of art were sent around the world
146 people took part, and those people came from ...
12 different countries

But even better than that, join in next year!  It really is a great project and Kat makes it so easy to participate in even if you live outside of the US. I promise to let you know when the sign up starts for 2018, so start thinking about what you can make into a postcard now!

Monday, 10 April 2017

Memos, Mail and Me

When you look at the work calendar and you see that you have two weeks away from the office for the Easter break, it brings a smile to your face and puts a spring in your step.  Two whole weeks.  Oh the things you can do with two whole weeks to do what you want.  Then a short while later you look at the calendar again and realise that you've already had one of those weeks and have very little to show for it apart from getting up when you want to, having lunch when you want to and having as many tea/coffee/biscuit breaks as you want to.  How can I possibly have frittered away half my holiday on not doing very much at all?  Or maybe that is part of the holiday experience, not having to do very much?  One thing's for sure though, my postman has been busy giving me ample exhibits for joining in with sharing mail.

Liberate Your Art postcards are flooding in!
The idea is that you will receive 5 cards from fellow participants and one from Kat, who organised the whole thing.  In addition to this some people do 'side swaps' so it's lovely to receive more than the minimum amount.  I love checking out new blogs and hearing about the inspiration behind the postcard, or a quote written on the back.  This year, I even have one which travelled to me from Slovenia via Kat in the US.  The majority of people taking part are American, so I think it's time to spread the word this side of the Atlantic!  Check out the project here - so you can join in next year!

One thing the postman should have been delivering, but didn't, was my fabric for my new patchwork project - I received an email to say the layer cake pack of ten coordinating fabrics I ordered was out of stock, so instead I've chosen some of the individual fabrics and fingers crossed, they will be here in time for next week's Mail, Memos and Me post.

Other news this week

Our long term houseguests have gone home!

My daughter, her fiancĂ© and baby have been having a lot of work done on their house and asked if they could move in here 'for a couple of weeks' so they didn't have to live with all the dust, dirt and disturbance of the builders.  Now multiply that by three, and that's how long they've been here!  In some ways it has been lovely; we've seen Leo grow two teeth, be weaned onto real food and learn to crawl.  But it makes you realise how much you forget about the demands of a baby, and how they gradually take over every room in the house!  As I type this up, the quietness of the house seems weird, and everywhere looks a little bit empty as all his paraphernalia has been taken back to his proper home. 

But I had better get the bed linen changed and room aired quickly as our son is coming home for the whole Easter break - instead of early retirement next year, maybe we should consider opening a Bed and Breakfast :-)

A long weekend for everyone next week - I wonder how many Easter eggs we'll have consumed in time for next Monday's check in? 

Joining in with the Monday crew inspired by Sian,

Monday, 3 April 2017

Memos, Mail and Me

Oh my goodness, April - you're here already.   I mean, obviously I knew you were on your way, but the time has just flown.  I see you've brought the sunshine with you so you are very welcome in this corner of the country.  You're just in time to join in with Sian's Mondayers. 

Postcard 2 of the Liberate Your Art project arrived this week

Just look at the texture on those bowling pins.  What a clever photograph.  Big thanks to Paula Bogdan of  Quite apart from loving getting artistic cards through the post, I love how this project introduces you to blogs you would never otherwise have come across.  Pop over to Paula's blog, and be prepared to be very impressed by the creative work that she produces.  I have particular sewing envy of the little squares she has on her blog post.

The conservatory project is 95% finished

Before and after shots, taken 4 days apart.  I hadn't realised just how grey the tint was on the old polycarbonate roof we had, changing it for plain glass has made such a difference.  We've also changed the windows so that instead of having a small opening window at the top of each panel we only have 2 on each side like that so the eye line isn't broken up so much and it really does make the whole room feel bigger.  New armchairs arrived this week, and a new sofa is on order - watch this space ...

New furniture and a dog who likes to sun herself out there means that a new throw needs to be made.  A perfect excuse to get the sewing machine out, buy some new fabric and get back into patchwork mode.  Add a sprinkling of sunny spring weather and I think my Easter school break is sorted!

I hope the sun is shining on your Monday, wherever you are, why not join in with the rest of the Monday brigade and share any mail related or Monday memos?

Monday, 27 March 2017

Memos, Mail and Me

Very special mail for me to share today as part of Sian's Memos, mail and me

Leo made me a card!

I think he may have had a little bit of help from his mummy!  What a lovely idea though.  It also explains why his feet were a little bit red when he took his socks off the other day after he'd been to 'Discovery Tots'.
Those little feet learnt how to stand up for themselves this weekend.

Watching Granddad mow the lawn.  He was totally engrossed, then Coco came bounding across the grass to the patio and stared at him, eye to eye, through the window and the shock made him sit down.  Won't be long until he's out there 'helping' ...

Some more artistic mail arrived through the post this morning

My first 'Liberate Your Art' postcard arrived 

I love receiving post like this, to think how many miles it has travelled to get to me, and to connect with people that I would never
meet in any other way.  This card started life in Chicago, which made me smile as that is where my penfriend who I have been writing to for almost 50 years originally came from, and it's the city in which my future daughter in law's father grew up.  Seems like me and Chicago are destined to be together!
Better finish this post off now, it's much later than I normally post my Monday memo, but my husband and I had some important shopping to do first thing this morning.  Important wedding shopping.  The Father of the Bride suit has been bought.  Now if only the Mother of the Bride could get her act together ...

Monday, 20 March 2017

Memos, mail and me

The postman was kept very busy this week ...

It was my birthday on Tuesday

My last year of being in my 50s.  That sounds very scary.  I thought that it was very unfair of the school to make me go into work on my birthday but apparently you aren't allowed the day off so I had to turn up as normal.  I've decided that I'm definitely going to stop working when I'm 60 and it seems very strange to now be beginning a year of 'lasts' in the office.  Last time I'll have to co ordinate the Easter revision sessions, last time I'll have to organise Awards Evening, last time I'll have to pay over the odds to go on holiday because I can't go away outside of the school holidays ... I'm not convinced that my line manager believes me that I'm going but she can't say that I haven't given her enough warning!
It wasn't only small envelopes that got delivered here this week though.  Some flat pack furniture arrived.
Phase One of Operation 'Update the Conservatory' begins ...

We had our conservatory built about 15 years ago and it's looking a little 'tired'.  So we are about to have the windows and roof replaced in a more modern style.  I shall have to take some before and after photos.  It should be quite a bit more energy efficient and will, I think, just have a more modern feel to it.  We currently have traditional wicker furniture and a chunky pine coffee table.  In order to get it looking a bit more contemporary we've replaced the one big table with three smaller ones.  My next mission is to find a new sofa and chairs.  Fabric swatches have already been ordered - watch this space!

Wedding(s) update

I met my son's future Mother in Law for lunch on Friday and she showed me the dresses she's bought for their registry office ceremony and the big marquee wedding celebration the following week, so now I have an idea of what she's wearing, I feel like it will be easier to find something for me to wear.  I didn't want to be too over the top or too understated in comparison to her.  The things us 'Mothers of the ...' have to think about!

My daughter and I are meeting with the lady who is doing her flowers later this afternoon, it's going to be fun choosing bouquets and buttonholes!

Joining in with Sian's idea to share our mail on Mondays. 

Monday, 13 March 2017

Memos, mail and me

I have something very pretty to share as part of Sian's idea to share our mail on Mondays.
Another thing to tick of the 'to do' list for the wedding.  Although as you can see, as they arrived through the post, a bit of careful ironing of the bodice top is in order!  Things are gradually falling into place.  The overall colour scheme is emerging, creams, pale pistachio green and pink in a vintage kind of style.  Table numbers and place cards are here, ribbons to go round table napkins are ordered and my lovely friend Denise has kindly offered to show me how to make some rather gorgeous flowers to add to the ribbons.  Mother of the Bride outfit?  Ask me again next month ... (memo to self, must start to seriously get out to the shops)

It's been a week of getting out the 'not quite summer, but lighter weight than winter' clothes.  Long sleeved t shirts rather than jumpers and cotton chinos rather than jeans.  The lawn was mowed for the first time this year and I have aches and pains to prove it.  Husband rather conveniently pulled a muscle in his back playing badminton last week so was only able to offer encouragement from a comfortable seat in the conservatory whilst having a cup of tea.  Thankfully we were out to friends for dinner in the evening and a couple of glasses of prosecco soon took a little of the discomfort away. 

My last day of being 58 today, I'm pretty sure I'm far too young to be this old!  See you all next week, same time, same place ...