Sunday, November 19, 2017

Sunday Memories - Cockington Parish. . . . . . . . .

Autumn Sundays. . . . . . . . . and today my thoughts go to this little church of 
St. George and St. Mary - the tower is the oldest part 1210-1230 -
 close to my old English childhood home.  Above is a postcard of a watercolor
 I enjoy. . . . . . below is a photo I took of the church on an October day when
 visiting some years back. 
I've no plans right now for a visit but have decided it will most
likely be in an early Autumn, my favorite time to be at home.

I hope you are enjoying a lovely Sunday.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Fall Fashion ~ Loose and Comfy!

Apparently it's fashionable to don loose, comfy, and often really oversized, 
sweaters this season. Looking through my personal stash from the past few
 years I already have several oversized sweaters in my closet.
I also have classic cut cashmere sweaters and cardigans which really
 never go out of style, so guess I'm ready for all chilly weather situations. 

 I did a quick changeover from Summer warm weather clothes to oh such loved
Fall/Winter items before heading to Louisiana last week - not that one required 
anything heavy and snug there - it was 80 degrees plus and still extremely humid.
 Is it ever not hot and humid in New Orleans?

Have you shopped for new sweaters this season?
This longer loose fitting sweater I love, and the tie bottom elevates it to being a bit
 more dressy than a lot of the oversized sweaters I'm seeing, and wearing! 
Pairing it with the co-ordinating skirt it can pass as a dress. I would find this a
 useful outfit for many occasions. . . . . . . I would however like it more with a
 lowered round neckline, turtlenecks are just too warm here in my area, especially
 when going into shops etc. where the heat is blasting out full throttle.
 The big loose sleeves are wonderful.

This gigantic sweater is rather too voluminous and would
be somewhat annoying perhaps, unless one could size down!
I do like the marled grey yarn, and having a hood would be great 
when taking a woodland walk on a chilly day. . . . . . . . 

. . . . . . . .speaking of which, now cool days are here and the colorful
 leaves are whirling in the Autumn breeze, I must get out and walk 
in the woods. 
Leaf raking will be keeping me busy and providing some exercise in the
 coming weeks so a comfy, loose sweater will really come in useful.

~ New looks from ZARA for Winter 2017/18 ~

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Scribble Picnic. . . . . . . .Gift Wrap

What's in the bag?

I enjoy giving gifts, or presents as we always called them in England back in the day. 
Of course I also like receiving them, but in all honestly giving them is more
special for me. . . . . . . and wrapping them has been a lifelong pleasure.

I've always loved wrapping gifts with beautiful papers, ribbons and tags since
 I was a child when Hallmark suddenly added those items to their card offerings.
They appeared in England when I was in my early teens, and I spent a lot of my
 pocket money purchasing gift wrap paper, curling ribbon and other trimmings. 
I recall my family and friends enjoying my efforts and saying things such as,
 "Oh, this package is just too pretty to open", then their curiosity got the best
 of them and they pulled off the wrapping, usually saving just the ribbon.

However I have to admit that when 'gift bags' arrived and offered another way
to share a present for a special occasion, I jumped on the bandwagon right 
away. When it comes to wrapping an unboxed item of an awkward shape or
size, or several small things which could just be gently swathed in tissue paper
and tucked into the bag together, the gift bag is a godsend in more ways 
than one. It also survives destruction on opening which allows it to be
 recycled with fresh tissue paper and a new tag if necessary.

A Christmas gift bag - I wonder what it will hold!
Scribble Picnic theme this week is 'gift wrap'.
I turned a photo of a gift bag into a sketch via PicMonkey
 then added back color with my watercolor pencils . . . . . . . .and
 then suddenly realized it's less than six weeks until Christmas!

Do visit Scribble Picnic today - there should be some pretty 
packaged gifts awaiting.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Yes, there are angels. . . . . . . . in New Orleans

On our early morning bus tour of the city of New Orleans, we stopped at
 the Saint Louis Cemetery #3 (there are three cemeteries). Most of the
 graves are above-ground vaults built in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The cemetery was heavily flooded in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
 in 2005 however most of its tombs escaped relatively unscathed.
Perhaps the beautiful angels on high were watching out for them.

On a sunny morning, before the heat of the day set in, this was a stop
 before heading for the typical local breakfast of excellent beignets and
 cafe au lait at the nearby historic Morning Call Cafe in City Park.

The angels of New Orleans were glorious.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Colorful New Orleans. . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . it was a fun time and a great place 
to visit!!! 

The 'Big Easy' - round-the-clock nightlife, street musicians, cajun food,
 'Hurricane' drinks, color, hot, humid, noisy, busy, dirty, sparkly, live music, 
French, jazz, jazz, and more jazz. . . . . . . a city of contrasts, live oaks,
 beads, trolley cars, wrought iron balconies and flowers.

~ Jasmin choosing a souvenir mask ~

~ Preservation Hall ~
The hour of traditional jazz here in the tiny, historic space (thankful I'd made
 reservations for seats) was the hilight of my visit. 

~ St. Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square ~

Sunday, November 5, 2017

NOLA. . . . . and all that jazz!

Off to hear real jazz and have a fun time!
See you here next week.

Thanks for all the kind remarks about my living room makeover - 
you really are the best of friends.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Travel anywhere, everywhere . . . . . . . . .

As of May this year I have visited 40 of the 195 countries in the world on six continents.
 This of course means I have a lot more to visit if the opportunity ever arrives!
Antarctica, the seventh continent, is not owned by any country and, as
most of you know, I have traveled to that distant outpost also.
So, 40 countries and all seven continents has involved a lot of travel,
much of it during the past 10 years.

It has not always been easy going - adventure and expedition travel should
 probably be done early in life when the body is in peak condition - but it has
 been rewarding, a lot of fun, and more than educational in so many ways.
  I'm always encouraging young people to travel and see this amazing world 
while they are in their prime. Sadly, the way life is planned for most of us, 
spare time and money are not always available to the young for that type
 of travel. When I see their eyes light up as I expound on places where I've
 ventured, such as Africa, Western Australia, sub-Antarctic Islands of New
 Zealand, and Antarctica, I tell them to be patient in their youth. . . . . . . start 
making plans, save money in a separate travel account, hold on to their
 dreams of seeing the world, but don't leave it too late! 
Their world map may be blank right now. . . . . . . . . . 
. . . . . . . . . . but it will be waiting for them to mark the countries and continents
 they visit, and they should go as soon as they can. 

I'll be traveling in the coming days - not on an expedition or overseas adventure - just
  a short domestic trip this time. 
Hoping for a lot of fun whilst celebrating our granddaughter Jasmin's 21st Birthday
 in one of America's favorite cities. . . . . . . . think great jazz, breakfast beignets, 
trolley cars, antiques, riverboats, humidity, unusual cemeteries, and even voodoo!!!
I know you'll guess this destination easily.
Hope to have some good photos to share with you later.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Adding a little color to life ~ my living room makeover. . . . . . . .

Confession time again!  
I was not happy with the white slip covers I had dyed earlier
 this year. In fact I was downright depressed.
I expected medium grey and they were more like dark, dull, dreary navy, 
appearing almost black in the evening light. This room is dark to begin
 with as it faces due north with no direct sun, despite a wall of windows.
The longer I looked at them the more I knew they had to go!
Needed to replace that old, too heavy to move, sleeper-sofa anyway. It was
 donated ta family who could use it . . . . . . . and we shopped for a warm
 mid-grey velvet traditional English roll arm sofa and found this one from
 Drexel Heritage.

So, over the summer months I was busy making some changes to my
 living room at the cottage. . . . . . . . . . . .and new upholstery started here!

The previous 'shabby white' slip covered chairs have been reupholstered.
I shopped for a good quality fabric for my big, comfy easy chair and footstool,
as this chair (Henredon) gets a lot of use.
I knew I wanted to put blues with the grey velvet and am still amazed
 at myself for choosing an animal print which I had not considered.
 When I found this print it was not the classic colorway for a leopard print
 In grey-blue/black on a natural creamy background, it just leapt out at me!
 I fell for it, especially as it's an excellent quality fabric.
I bought a yard and took it to the furniture store where the sofa was displayed,
and my decision was made - it was to be my fun print in the room.

When it comes to decor and changing things one lives with day after day, it takes
 a leap of faith. . . . . . . . .especially these days, the ones I call the 'trendy days' in
decorating, fashion, food, whatever. So many choices in everything, but little really 
built to last.
~ Daylight ~

I know indigo blue is 'trending' and I do love it, however I didn't want anything 
that dark. I knew the blues I was searching for were the ocean colors,
 aquamarine, turquoise, teal, Aegean, cerulean.
 Gold goes well with these shades whether in mirrors, picture frames, pillows,
 lamps and other accessories, all of which I already have.

~ Evening light ~

I know my style is eclectic. I enjoy a mix of traditional, a touch of industrial,
older inherited bits and bobs from grandmother and mother, small
 antiques especially from France, with thrift shop finds, and Anthropologie dishes
 and candles thrown in.

Where does one start making changes when living in a small, older home?
We may not be in this house forever, it's that aging thing which hangs over 
people in our group, so we hesitate to do much more requiring major remodeling 
and huge expense. Now it's more basic upkeep with some refreshing of space
 and elements.

So, these changes initially revolved around the sofa. I wanted a new one which
 didn't require slip covers, was open to the floor for easy cleaning (Swiffer I love you),
 was elegant but comfy, velvet, and grey. It also had to fit our small space.

My new pillows are an eclectic mix and probably will change now and then
 with the season.
The two large grey ones on the sofa I had made from a length of beautiful
 cut velvet fabric purchased from a dealer at ScreenDoor in Asheville, NC 
several years ago. The blue velvet edged in linen was a great find at
 HomeGoods, the gold toile with ribbon trim I made a long time ago.
 The plain grey velvet on my leopard chair is from IKEA some years back. 
The fabulous bright gold velvet Jacobean print I found recently at World Market
  - personally I think it makes the room, and all who've seen it have
 commented on it.
To top things off I found the cozy fringed throw in the perfect color
 at HomeGoods.
Another view - I was trying different pillow combos!

My other chair, Chippendale style, (Bob, has his leather recliner)
then needed to be clothed in one of those lovely blues.
  The fabric I chose is a heavy chenille velvet and I'm really pleased with how that
 chair turned out. It too is quite old, but made by Hickory here in North Carolina,
and will probably hold up longer than me! 
I've now had a couple more pillows made with leftover chenille fabric
including this neat little roll pillow for my back.
The space is a lot different from the previous look which I'd grown
 a bit tired of, and those white slip covers were so much work!
I do love color and enjoyed pulling the room together
with this new look.

What do you think? 
Should I paint the walls, add a rug? 
We do actually add a hearth rug in winter.
Should I hang more art above the sofa?
Feedback is always appreciated.

I'm not aiming for 'house beautiful' - just cottage comfortable
where I feel content watching a movie, reading a book, knitting
 on a winter evening.
So far it's all working for me. Just bring on the chilly evenings. . . . .I can't 
wait to light a roaring fire in the hearth.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Scribble Picnic. . . . . . .TOY

box of traditional, 
wooden alphabet blocks. 
 The most fun learning toy ever!

Michael challenged us with the theme TOY for SCRIBBLE PICNIC today.
The word invokes fond memories of beloved favorites of many years ago. 
 Mine were the blocks, a stuffed monkey named 'Chimpy', and of course my dollies
 whom I loved to sew clothes for with the help of my dressmaker mother.

Come 'picnic' with us today to see what our group has come up with, perhaps
 you'll see some of your own favorite toys!

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