Thursday, 28 March 2013

Can't keep your fingers off your eggs...?

Well, it seems, neither can I! 
Having gone just a little bit bananas with the lilac craft paper I used for my moustache-adorned egg heads last week, a few more mini craft projects took form in my spring-desperate head. So, what to do with some miniature bunting...?

Well, it quite obviously needs a sponge cake, some chocolate/coffee frosting, 
a few chocolate fingers and some mini eggs. 
In short: the bunting needs an Easter cake to go with it!

 And who am I to argue with that?

Whether you celebrate Easter or not, 
I hope your weekend is a lovely and relaxing one, 
and - dare I say it? - a warm and spring-like one too!

Monday, 25 March 2013

Blue skies and dreamy windows...

In a post last week, I mentioned having 'a thing' for doors. Well... the attentive among you may have spotted that I do have quite a crush on windows too... and the one in the photo above, in a nearby village,  became one of my favourites a couple of years ago when I first saw it in 'summer costume' (if you want to see what it looked like then, click here).

To me, there is something special about this house, and as it inspires a multitude of romantic country dreams for me, I think from now on I will refer to this window as "my dreamy window"... Is that a nod to Tina Turner's old song "Steamy Windows" you may wonder? Well, imagine if I allowed myself to do what I secretly would like to, wander up and peer into this darling house... now, I think my open-mouthed  staring would quite soon render that window rather steamy, so there is perhaps the link... But not to worry, I will behave perfectly appropriately and only admire it from a distance. Ehm, that is, armed with a snappety-snap-happy camera!

On a sunny walk a couple of weeks ago, my "Peeping Tom" tactics were still going strong, and peering into the back garden of this lovely old house, I saw the little moss-clad round "appendix" at the back. I can't quite seem to shake off my curiosity about what it might be? Storage, perhaps, but why the round shape? Either way, it has got all of the features (old stone, moss, curvy shapes) that make me sigh and mutter "I want one", clicking my tongue and scratching my head to figure out how I could make it happen... I mean, does one really need to justify wanting a round, moss-clad old thingamajig attached to one's house? Stranger things have been attached to houses, have they not?

And yes, this is exactly how blue the sky was that day. Not having been spoiled with this type of colourful eye candy for a long time, it was difficult not to lose oneself staring at its hypnotic blue glory, forgetting everything else for a sweet moment. As if invited to enhance this scene, two doves rested their feathery selves on top of this folly next to Corsham Court.

The beautiful local cemetery, where the old and anything but straight grave stones always inspire me to write a detective story or two...

Down by the lake, the rare rays of sun warming the bark of 
the old oak trees made them creak with delight...

... while the Canada geese did the obvious... well, geesy thing: make noise and 
shake their.. you know... whatever it is that geese might shake...

Now, may these bright and sunny images work their 
magic to conjure up some more days like this!
Happy Monday to you all!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Egg Heads...

No, of course I did not mean you, dear readers! 

The egg head heading refers to these three gentlemen that were the result of last night's itchy craft fingers having been allowed to play. Inspired by a photo I had seen on Pinterest (unfortunately I cannot remember where, so I apologise that there is no source stated), I dug out some old craft paper, three mini jam jars (those you often get with hotel breakfasts and which, I found out when I asked in a B&B last summer, are often thrown away and not recycled... which now makes me ask if I can take them home instead!), a black  pen and the three remaining eggs I could find in our fridge. And ta-daa, instant Easter fun! 


... and on the subject of itchy craft fingers... I thought I might continue the theme of 'show and tell' by showing you some wands I made for a certain young gentleman's Harry Potter birthday party a few days ago.. Welcome to Hogwarts!

I found some very easy step-by-step instructions here on how to make a Harry Potter wand that lived up to my health and safety conscious, do-not-like-any-children-to-get-their-eyes-poked-out-at-the-party philosophy. It was my first encounter with a glue gun ("What?" I hear you say, "a crafty girl without a glue gun???") and after an initial farcical few minutes that would give Mr Bean a run for his money, we bonded quite well (pardon the pun), the glue gun and I. 

I made a few changes to the original instructions and used two sheets of paper, one rolled inside the other, for stability, and I did not use any primer or paint several coats - instead I used a couple of tester pots in black and two different shades of brown and slabbed on the paint a little haphazardly, trying to achieve that distressed look. The wands were surprisingly easy to make,   and even if they will not last a lifetime, at least they are safe and proved very useful for the spells and potion making the little wizards undertook at the party...

Happy Sunday, everyone, and may it be a magical one!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The Hills Are Alive...

... with the sound of... BEAUTY!

Yes, these are the views I am spoiled with every week when I take my boys to swimming classes in a nearby village. Two weeks ago, the sun was doing its best to convince us that, despite it still being unseasonably chilly, there will be a spring this year too... 

Having lived in Stockholm in Sweden before we moved to the UK, the pace is indeed a very different one here, in life in general and in the case of traffic in particular. Countryside living offers a - for me -healthy slower pace, and I cannot help but smile when I think of the only traffic delay I am likely to suffer here, is whenever I get stuck behind a tractor on a narrow country lane...! However, on this particular day I was lucky - this tractor was nicely parked  in the village...

I know, I know, I DO have a thing for doors. But how can you not in a country so keen on expressing individuality even in a front door, that even a short walk down just about any street allows for a colourful and interesting door-spotting expedition. And combined with some stunning old stonework... oh my... Oh, and throw in a stemmed plant and I am sold, grinning from ear to ear, letting out the odd unintelligible, happy gurgling noise. Yes, I am easy to please!

I think there are many among you readers who, like I, are becoming increasingly spring-impatient now, and perhaps you, like I, have become daily spring spotters too? Gratefully soaking up the sight of every little spring flower or hopeful pot? Well, the signs may be small, but they are there, so let's make this happen now, this SPRING THING!

Wishing you all a sparkling and spring-spotted day!

Ps. I know there has been very little interior inspiration here lately, but as I have got very little time to create indoor or garden vignettes at the moment, I hope a few "postcards" from the English countryside will at least offer you some "country air"...

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Fraudulent fluffy stuff...

(Please click on the photo to see the whole photo - it appears cropped here.)

Now... spring may be unusually shy this year...
... and we have indeed seen some confused little white flakes 
sailing through the air in the past couple of days here...

But when I drove through our neighbouring village Biddestone a few days ago, my jaw dropped and I gasped for air in that dramatic way that only the sight of a world completely white in mid-March can provoke...

But then I realised...

... that the white fluffy stuff was indeed of a rather fraudulent kind...

... as were a couple of shop fronts...

... as it turned out they were filming some scenes from the movie 
The Christmas Candle, a "festive period drama" 
which will be out, I believe, next year.

So there we are.
A beautiful white world.
Even if fake.
Even if cold enough to be absolutely believable.
Oh bother, bring on spring!

Hoping you are keeping warm, wherever you are!
All the best and thank you so much for all your kind comments.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Purple peace and pretty purchases...

Dear readers,
I thought we might talk cushions for a moment. 
Cushions, I confess, is one of my weaknesses.
Cushions, I would insist, 
(although some family members, strangely, seem not to understand this...) 
you simply cannot have too many...
I say this, as I tend to make most of them myself, 
re-using the inner pillow and often using scraps of fabric to make the cover.

Like the peace sign cushion here...
...made from an old purple top of mine that was past its glory days in fashion, to put it mildly,
together with a peace sign cut out of some linen fabric and then painted with a thin layer of metallic paint, just to give it a modest shine, make it come "alive"...

But here comes confession time.
Cushion confession, that is.
See the other two patterned cushions?

If one happens to fall head over heals in love with a cushion one happens to see on the cover of one of one's favourite Norwegian magazines, Vakre Hem, and one then by complete coincidence happens to stumble across those very cushions at half price on a work trip to Sweden, one wonders if, perhaps, one is not meant to, maybe, well... buy them?

Well, one did. 

And one is quite happy one did. 

The sofa in the TV room (our TV is hidden away in one of the cupboards under the stairs) is now a little more colourful than before, and together with the fairy-light-stuffed ex-greenhouse heater in the fireplace, and my beloved, cheerful ceiling light, this window-less corner now seems a little bit brighter!

Wishing you a bright and colourful Sunday!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Spring signs in Castle Combe...

Our sunny walk last Sunday, described in my last post, ended up in one of my favourite villages around here, in postcard perfect Castle Combe (I have posted MANY photos from here before, please look under Castle Combe in Categories in the column to the right).

Every time I stroll up and down the main road here, I admire and envy the ancient doors, the stonework, the many not so straight angles...

On weekends, visitors from near and far come to enjoy the beauty of this little gem, and what could be nicer than to "hang out" by the old market place, perhaps sipping a drink of one's choice, lapping up the sun...

The swans seemed to enjoy the tentative signs of spring too...

The beautiful cemetery offering its long-term guests a little floral feast...

And here they are, my boys, still in winter coats and hats, as the air was still a little chilly...

And yes, this may perhaps be a pot that is not particularly spectacular at first glance, but its colour explosion, lovely tulip buds and the fact that the little petal ensemble is in the Swedish colours, well, I think these are valid reasons for a little spring-y Swenglish cheer!

Next time I think I might introduce you to a couple of new members of the Swenglish cushion family. Think peacefully purple...

Wishing you a lovely and colourful weekend!

Monday, 4 March 2013

Sunday... oh, what a SUN DAY... hooray!

 My long lost friend and soul-nurturing confidant made a surprise visit yesterday...

... bringing hope and smiles to people and petals...

... inspiring us to go for a walk, having bribed younger family members with 
a promise of ice cream at our destination, Castle Combe...

... stopping, as always, for a good - albeit for my taste somewhat too competitive - game of Pooh 
sticks on a small stone bridge (with a view of this enviable house in a hamlet on the way)...

... taking the opportunity to admire some of the beautiful farm houses in the valley, 
before they are soon hidden in vigorous verdure...

Yes, the sun was indeed a welcome guest, warming our chilled, hibernating souls. Even if the thermometer did not venture into double digits, it was still warm enough for yours truly to enjoy a fizzy elderflower drink outside (!) when we arrived in Castle Combe. I have shown photos from this beautiful village many times before, but I am afraid that should you decide to pop in to the Swenglish Home again some time in the next few days, you may have to suffer a few more...!

To see all the photos in this post better (and not strangely cropped), please click on them. You may then also be able to better view for example the lovely Victorian post box in the old stone wall in the first photo. And perhaps even the snowdrops growing on top of mentioned wall...

Wishing you all a fabulous start to the new week 
and thank you so much for your kind comments on my last post. 
Shocking to see how many of you suffer from the same 
type of naughty car behaviour ...