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Sunday, 15 January 2017

Memories... and how I'm going to be a little sewing fiend!!

For some strange reason, I suddenly thought, at the beginning of December, that I would learn to sew and use a sewing machine. Obviously I can sew on buttons, take up hems by hand, etc, but this was new territory for me. I had seen a machine in our local Supermarket, at an excellent price, so, being the little Aries That I am, I took the bull by the horns, and bought one.  Here is my new little friend ....

 

I should point out here, that I last used a sewing machine 56 years ago when I was at School.  That sewing teacher never liked me!! I still have nightmares about trying to thread the bobbin.  I suppose I never really had the need to sew, as my dear mum was a trained Tailoress, even going up to London for her training. I've often thought that this must have been quite daring for a young woman, travelling to the Capital from down here in Devon at that time, as we would be talking about the early 1920's. 

Mum made all my clothes until I was well into my 20's. I always loved the little outfits she made for me as a little girl, from little sun suits for the beach, shorts and t-shirts and pretty dresses. 

 

 

 

I can still remember a shocking pink little number - the suits were always fully lined - with a  straight skirt and jacket. I wore it with a navy blouse, and matching shoes, gloves and handbag. Can anyone else remember when we wore matching shoes, gloves and handbags?!  The following photo is not the deep pink suit I'm talking about, but you will get the picture !  Please excuse the hat - I was attending a friend's wedding 😳.

 

Anyway, all mum's clothes that she made were as beautifully finished on the inside as on the outside. I have so many childhood memories of going into Remnant/Fabric Shops with mum, and I can still remember the smell as we were surrounded by all these bales of colourful materials.  We would browse the materials, zips and buttons and I actually really enjoyed doing that. Then the Assistant would take the big rolls of material down from the shelves and unroll it onto a long wooden counter, with a tape measure running along it.  The material would then be cut off to the required length with a large pair of scissors.  As a little girl, I would take it all in, and be utterly entranced by the whole performance!  I still have mum's treasured tin of buttons of all shapes and sizes.  When my mum passed away, there were so many rolls of material in all the cupboards, many bought in the Sales.  I MISS YOU MUM ...

 

Then we fast forward to when my youngest daughter was a teenager.  She always wanted to get into fashion, and eventually took a Fashion & Textiles Degree at University, and so the sewing began in the family once again.  Actually, I always remember my dad's mum sewing as well.  Her husband was killed at a young age in the First World War, and so my Nan also became a Seamstress, in order to support her two young children. 

So, here we are back at the current time, on a rainy day last week, when my daughter came down to give me my first sewing lesson.  Lo and behold, that dreaded bobbin raised its ugly head again!  When I finally started sewing, I was actually pleased with the result and managed to sew all around the various shapes that my daughter had drawn for me, in a relatively neat fashion. 

 

 

As part of my Christmas present, my daughter brought me a very helpful book, so I'm hoping to perhaps start on a simple little project soon. 

 

 



 

Watch this space!!!  Hope to see you again soon.  

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

January - Time for a little nurturing!

I'm always looking out for new quotes that I haven't seen before, quotes to inspire and encourage, and I came across this one recently. I think it will become one of my new favourites!

 

I like to think that most of us try to nurture others as we pass through life, but sometimes, you know, it's important to also remember to nurture ourselves.   Perhaps January is one of the best months for us to do this, as we await the return of the longer days.

At this time of the year, whenever the sun appears, or it's a bright day, forget the housework and the ironing - go outside, look around and appreciate the beauty of the day. If you're able to go for a walk, so much the better. 

If you're confined to the house on these darker days, play some of your favourite music whilst carrying out your chores and dance around the kitchen! Become that young, carefree girl you once were - the girl that is still inside you somewhere.  Sounds silly?  Try it, and I guarantee you'll end up with a smile on your face 😊. One of the songs that will always do it for me is "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor! 

Write down a list of things that make you happy and then try to do at least one of those things every day.  

My friend in Green Bay brought me a Blessing Bracelet as one of my Christmas presents and I really loved the idea behind it. I truly believe that if you take the time to count your blessings every day, then life does feel so much better. For me, a blessing can be a simple thing, such as finding a parking space in a crowded car park, meeting a friend unexpectedly when you're out and about. How many times do we say, it really is the simple things in life that can make us feel at our happiest. 

 

 

I find that if I take photos when I'm out and about, this makes you take more notice of things around you, and you might notice something special that you might otherwise have missed. Just sayin' ! 😊😉

Well, I seem to be rambling on a bit here, and I'm sure you have more important things to do - such as having a dance round that kitchen!  Go on .. be wild, and don't forget to crank up the volume!  Anyway, I'll finish off by saying .....remember to be kind to YOU. 


Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Is That It Then?!

Hello my friends. Well, there you go... It's all over again for another year.  Christmas and New Year, that is, and here I am writing my first Blog Post of 2017.  I thought the following quote (yes, courtesy of Pinterest.com again!) was as good as any to start the New Year with. 

 

To be honest, I'm glad all the chocolates and goodies have almost gone - otherwise I would be a very chubby Southhamsdarling! I'm fine if I don't buy all those treats,  but if they're in the house, I have no willpower at all.  I just keep stuffing my face, so it's a good job it only happens once a year!  

 

I'm pleased to have gone out for a coastal walk with my youngest daughter a few days ago.  It was a beautiful, sunny day, and the sea was so calm. I took a couple of photos to show you ....

 

 

 

With apologies to my Facebook friends, who will have already seen these photos.  I suppose that January is one of my most least favourite months, but I have noticed that the days are getting just that little bit lighter already by late afternoon, so that has to be a good thing. I'm quite happy with February, because that's when all the tiny shoots suddenly start poking up from the ground here  in the United Kingdom, and you get the feeling that the whole cycle in the garden is about to start all over again.

I feel grateful to be here at the start of another year, and I feel positive about the months ahead. I hope you feel the same - who knows what the year ahead might hold for us?!  See you again soon ❤️ 

I have put up a new Featured Post, entitled What Might Have Been, in which I showcase a few of my photographs. Perhaps you might like to pop over and have a look.  Just click on the link at the top of the right hand sidebar. 

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Farewell 2016....


 

So my friends,  another year is almost at an end, and we will soon move into 2017. I hope you all enjoyed the festive season amongst those you love.  I don't think 2016 has been one of our better years. So many famous people left us, starting right at the beginning of the year, and continuing right up to the end of the year. Many died far too young, and that is always a cause for sadness. 

There was political upheaval, particularly in my Country and the United States of America, and I'm sure there is more of that to come in other countries around the world. Then, of course, we had the terrible atrocities caused by terrorists, with so much loss of life.  Major terrorist attacks occurred in Brussels, Nice, Syria and Orlando.  These are the ones that made headlines, but there were, in fact, more than 100 terrorist attacks in 2016.  

We can only pray that there will be more peace and understanding in the year of 2017. We must all stay strong and continue to believe that good will overcome evil....it has to...for the sake of  our children and our grandchildren. One of my favourite words is 'kindness' but, at the beginning of a new year, the word 'hope' always springs to mind. 

 

Anyway, as you know, this Blog isn't supposed to be all about doom and gloom. We get enough of that when we watch the News every day, don't we?! Why do the Media almost always dwell on the bad things that are happening around us. Why aren't all the good things celebrated?  All the unsung heroes....ordinary, everyday people, that spend their days doing good and caring for others in their home or in their communities.  

I suppose, at the end of each year, we all feel a little reflective, thinking of times gone past, and family and friends that are no longer with us. Perhaps we should all learn to 'seize the day" or Carpe Diem as a Roman poet said back in the dark ages!! As for me, on a personal level, I will be celebrating (if that's the right word!) my 70th birthday in April.  I have lost many friends who have died far too young, so I feel blessed to be approaching that age.  I still like to think that I'm young at heart, and I don't think that will change!  I think we all know people who seem to be middle-aged when they are  only in their thirties, whereas there are other people in their 90's who are an inspiration to us all.  Me? I intend to wear purple, and grow old disgracefully. 

So then, at the end of this Post, it only remains for me to wish you all a happy, healthy, peaceful and fulfilling New Year.  Let's make this year an  amazing one  for all of us.  We can do this!

 

 

 

 
New Year quotes courtesy of Pinterest.com

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Keep Calm... it's Nearly Christmas!

 
Image courtesy of Pinterest.com

If you can avoid all the crowds in the shops, there truly is something quite magical in the season of Advent and Christmas. I suppose I am blessed, because my two grandchildren are eight and six, and they live  just five minutes away.  This really is the very best age, and I feel very fortunate to be able to share in their excitement and to see the magic in their eyes. I went to see Ruby in her little school Nativity play on Thursday. What a treat that was. It's so funny when all the little ones are trooping onto the stage - you can see their eyes anxiously surveying the audience to see if they can spot mummies and daddies, or grandmas and grandads. Then, when they see them, their little eyes light up and they start waving furiously!!  Here are a couple of photos from 2013...

 

 
Although we are still allowed to take photos at the Nativity Plays, we are only allowed to share photos of our OWN child on Social Media.  I remember a couple of years ago, the Headmistress asked if anyone objected to photos being taken. One lone mum stood up and did object, so the rest of us weren't allowed to take any photos of our little ones that year. Such a shame, but they seem to have got round that. 

 

The little ones have finished school now for the Christmas holiday, so I'm sure we will be visiting Father Christmas during this coming week. Ho! Ho! Ho! 🎅🏻🎄.  

In December last year, I had a long weekend in Madrid to celebrate my eldest granddaughter's 18th birthday, as she is at University in that lovely City. Here is a photo of the Christmas tree in Plaza Mayor, the main Square. 

 

And here is my lovely granddaughter ...

 

Here are a few of my favourite Christmas images from my Christmas Board on Pinterest. I hope you enjoy them. 

 

 

 
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Well, this will be my last Post before the big day, so I'm taking the opportunity to thank you so much for your friendship and support of my Blog, and to wish each and everyone of you, along with your families, a very Happy and peaceful Christmas - I hope you will be surrounded by love from your family or friends. Look after yourselves and I'll be here again in the new year.  ❤️



Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Mince Pies & Sherry, Mistletoe, all Christmas Traditions 🎅🏻

When I first told my American friends about mince pies at Christmas, a few years ago, they thought i was talking about meat pies!  Although these delicacies used to be filled with meat, such as lamb, they are now a sweet dish and filled with an assortment of dried fruit, with perhaps a hint of brandy. They are best served warm, in my humble opinion, and here in Devon, we serve them with a dollop of clotted cream. Yummy scrummy! 

 



 

I usually partake of a glass of sherry with mine, to really get me into the Christmas spirit. This is ideal for when you're writing your Christmas Cards or wrapping the presents, with Christmas music playing in the background. 

 
 
The mince pie in the photo is a tiny bite-sized one, but they are usually larger than that. I have tried all sorts of shop bought ones, but I much prefer the ones I make, using my own pastry. Here in the United Kindom, in the Stuart and Georgian times, mince pies were very much a status symbol at Christmas. Hard for us to imagine that now. Rich people would serve them to their guests in all sorts of different shapes. Having pies like this meant that you were very rich and had truly made it in the world, as you were able to afford the most expensive pastry cooks. 

Sometimes, when watching Downton Abbey and period dramas like that, I often think that I would like to have lived in those days, when sherry was served out of decanters and your clothes were all laid out for you. In truth, I fear I would have been the poor little housemaid, getting out of bed at 3.30 in the morning and cleaning out the grates, before the Lord of the Manor  came down for his breakfast in the morning!  Oh well, a girl can dream. 

On Christmas Eve, little children over here usually leave out a mince pie and  a glass of brandy, for Santa when he calls, along with a carrot for his reindeer. 

Another tradition at Christmas time is the hanging of mistletoe. Believe it or not, this tradition goes back to the days of the Druids - that is, long before I was a twinkle in my father's eye! It was supposed to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits. It was also used as a sign of love and friendship in Norse Mythology, and that's where the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe comes from. 

 

 
Mistletoe images courtesy of Pinterest.com

I hope all your preparations are going well for you at this very special time of the year, and I look forward to being with you again soon. Meanwhile, thank you so much for taking the time to drop in to read this Post. 

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Not Many More Sleeps! 🎄🎄

I love Quotations - quotations about love, kindness, thankfulness, to name but a few, so I thought I would share a few of my favourite Christmas quotations. This first one is my very favourite, and it was spoken by none other than that happy fellow (!)...the Grinch, from How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr Seuss.  (Talking of quotations, you will find some lovely ones in my new Featured Post today. I'm sure you will really enjoy them. Just click on the link at the top of the right hand side bar). 

"Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a Store?  What if Christmas....perhaps....means a little bit more?"

 
 

"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year,". Charles Dickens. 

"My idea of Christmas whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple ... loving  others.  Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?"  Bob Hope. 

"He who has not Christmas in his heart, will never find it under a tree."  Roy L. Smith.

Did you know that the custom of sending Christmas Cards was started right here in the U.K. in 1843. The very first Christmas Card had three panels - the two side panels showed people caring for the poor, and the central panel showed a family enjoying their Christmas dinner. 

 

Christmas Cards didn't appear in America until the late 1840's, but, because of printing costs, they were very expensive and not many people could afford them. It wasn't until 1915 that John C Hall, and two of his brothers, created Hallmark Cards, who we all know today as one of the largest card makers around. Here are a just a few of the pretty Christmas stamps that have been produced each year, here in the United Kingdom. 

 
 

I must admit, I have always loved browsing through cards, and I love sending them, even if it is only to let people know that I am thinking of them. I just think it's lovely to take the time to do this. In this electronic age, I still get a thrill from receiving a card or letter in the post! 

 

So, once again this year, I will be waiting for the Christmas Cards to pop through the letterbox and enjoy trying to guess who each one is from, by the writing on the envelope.

 

 Meanwhile, here is a little card from me to you, wherever you may be in the world. 

 
The above images are all courtesy of Pinterest.com

I thought I would finish today by sharing a photo, taken by me, of an old fashioned Christmas at the magnificent Saltram House, a National Trust property very close to where I live. The new header photo at the top of my Blog today, was taken last week at Dartington Gardens. 

 

Toodle pip for now 🎄