Thursday, 27 April 2017

A new perspective. Making peace with my past, 6 years on.

A year of change, a year that spun out of control emotionally, financially and every which way.

The year my son left home for uni.
The year the rug was well and truly pulled from under my feet at work.
The year that Gibraltar got caught in the crossfire, when I pushed away someone who was getting too close.

Everyone has a defining year, for good or bad, and this was mine.
It had a snowball effect on every aspect of my life, and only now, with the benefit of hindsight, can I look back objectively.

And make peace.
And to Jan and to Josh, I could have handled things differently.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Like a homing pigeon on a mission. Hello, Dulux mixing machine, it's been a while!

The wonderful thing about Facebook is the memories it holds.
And this was the month it threw up a blast from my past in the form of a toiletseat painted in the 1990s.
A toiletseat that reignited a love of paint that has lain dormant for more than 15 years.

In 1998 those toiletseats funded my first trip back to Israel since leaving seven years previously.
They enabled me to share with my seven year old son my past, his dad's past and the places, people and kibbutz that were so important to me.
These were very special toiletseats!

Seeing this toiletseat on the screen sent me scurrying to unearth long forgotten and dusty albums.
And made me yearn for paint beneath my fingernails and the smell of fresh paint once again.
So, like a delayed homing pigeon, I once again found myself eyeing up paint charts and lurking by the Dulux paint machine.
Three times I've found myself at that mixing machine this week.
Three times I've impulse bought those sweet little tins of Carribbean colour.
And once again I have paint under my fingernails.
But this time it's furniture.

A banana yellow writing desk, and a £2.50 bargain table...I'm thinking Carribbean pink with a daisy border and apple green legs!

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Of times gone by to bones of bling. The versatality of the vintage suitcase.

The vintage suitcase.

A reminder of a different age;  when travel was special, an event in itself.
Whether by train, plane or boat everything had its place and appearance mattered.
Hat box, vanity case...leather bound suitcases of varying sizes.
Travel was romantic, exciting - suitcases buffed and polished, owners the same.
And a world away from the travel of my youth. 

The travel of my youth involved an overstuffed rucksack, well thumbed travel book and an abundance of lycra and frayed shorts. They were probably a lot shorter than my parents would have liked.
And not a hat box in sight.

Now, I have rediscovered vintage suitcases to repurpose as pet beds.
Although they all have their individual quirks and appeal, my absolute favourites have got to be the battered and bruised, brown leather bound suitcases of the 1940s.
So much hidden history!

I have recently upcycled a 1940s suitcase into a dog bed for a family of four dachshunds.
Buffed, polished and coated with dubbing, it was incredibly satisfing to bring a dusty, grimy suitcase back to life again.
Complete with a golden bone for some added bling!

I am also working on a handbag dog sized bed, made from a 1960s vanity case.
This one is going to be gingham and floral, with a silver bone and tiny pillow.

There is so much satisfaction to be gained from upcycling old items, and this year is going to be the year of the suitcase for me, although storage may be a problem...and with three currently awaiting upcycling and another winging its way via Ebay, how many suitcases is too many???

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Yes, yes, yes - no - maybe - yes :) Taking the plunge on a long established dream.

A month ago I completed a craft fayre at the local Temple.
I took the grand total of £5 in two days.
Not entirely unexpected, as it was a craft fayre I did every year out of loyalty, but definitely my last.
Furtively leaving the hall on the second day, I stumbled upon a beautiful gift shop I'd known about but never actually ventured into.
The biggest surprise was that I already knew the lovely owner, but then, this is the backend of Gower, where everyone is connected in some way!
I left the shop having secured three shelves to rent for stock, which more than compensated for the craft fayre with no footfall.

Two weeks later, I was offered the shop as a buyer!

For many years I have dreamed of owning my own shop, but dismissed it as a pipedream.
This had the potential to be reality.
I fell in love with everything about the shop, from the quirky potential to the weedy garden and the Belfast sink serving as a hand basin.
I measured the door and in my head I can see workshops and whicker and signage and a large oval table that may have to be forced through the door frame like an elephant through the eye of a needle.
I've made a cursary search of the mundane things like surveyors and solicitors and insurance, all things I've manage to avoid for a lifetime.

And while my heart screams yes, yes, yes, my head occassionally whispers no - maybe - yes - no - maybe!

Maybe I can really do this.

It could be a very interesting month.
And maybe, just maybe, dreams can become reality...

Friday, 14 October 2016

Sales nil, caffeine high. Pineapple cream and pensions.

When it comes to rash decisions to spend hours upon hours skulking in a draughty temple for a craft fayre that no one attends, I wonder at my judgement.
And why I ever expect it to be different.
Next year, I get tough.
This year, I'm jaded.
Day one....sales nil, footfall fickle.
Footfall aplenty for the free buffet and wine, only to dissipate to nothing after the last mince pie had been consumed.
Thank goodness for the free wine.
Day 2.
Today is the grey brigade of lovely old ladies looking for coffee, company and gossip.
But not lovely old ladies wishing to spend.
Looking around, I am opposite jewellery for a pound and decoupage cards reminiscent of the 1980s.
The stall next door is selling hand crafted wooden bowls for £5 and another has cross stitch toilet roll covers.
I had no idea people still cover toilet rolls.
More to the point, WHY do people cover toilet rolls?
The 79 year old man on the next stall has spent a full 15 minutes standing in my space peering at me stitching a fox.
Before that he was putting my tea cosies on his head.
I'm ignoring him.
Thank goodness for coffee on demand.
Today I will be free wheeling on caffeine.
And as an added bonus I have discovered that pineapple and cream makes a fabulous cake and will be pilfering the recipe.

Will I do it again?
Absolutely, definitely not!

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Hedgehogs welcome - the whimsical charm of the hedgehog.

The past two weeks has brought the welcome discovery of new garden residents - hedgehogs!!!
Having had hedgehog envy for years I now have resident hedgehogs of my own, oozing with prickly charm and completely captivating.

My nights now include nocturnal wanderings and skulking in the back garden, observing my mealworm munching visitors.
I had no idea hedgehogs were quite so loud!

The first regular visitor appeared under the bird table one evening.
Small and sweet, she is a regular 8.30pm muncher, and is called Tiggy.

Closely followed by tubby Mabel, who makes a beeline for the food station within minutes of it being filled.

And as midnight approaches, Big Boris makes his appearance, snuffling through the undergrowth.

I feel honoured to be sharing a garden with these prickly residents, who are sadly in decline in the UK, partly due to over tidy gardens and fences replacing hedges.
Iconic and charming, I will happily leave a (large) corner of the garden to go wild and have now added hedgehog food and houses to my Amazon impulse buys...

And these cute, prickly residents are going to be my inspiration for a new range of hedgehog decor, including Hector below!

Sunday, 7 August 2016

''Hello (cat) have you seen my glasses?'' That sudden 40s awareness of just how many feline conversations I have!

''Hello Suki, have you seen my glasses?''
Now, in the past I would have thought nothing of the conversations I have with the cats.
Furry, faithful and in their teenage, they have been privvy to many secrets, confessions and traumatic events.
However, with the arrival of new neighbours and dodgy soundproofing, I have suddenly become aware of the conversations I am having with my furry family.
I hit my 40s and morphed into lady-who-has-conversatons-with-cats.



And as for new neighbours...
Now, they moved in a week ago with an array of power tools, big plans and a grizzly toddler.
And a complete disregard for established plants in a shared part of the garden.
Which have now been strimmed to oblivion.
If it was above ground level, it was strimmed.
Including the green frond backdrop I have consistently used to photograph stock.
And a rhubarb plant that was in full flow.

I think it's safe to say we'll never be friends...