starting with a fresh page…

I have hesitated and pondered about writing this blog post – it is not easy to begin again after my long ‘gap year’ last year, to say nothing of finding some time to sit and think of what to write.  I worry in case this is the only post I produce again this year and another unforseen crisis will suddenly strike and prevent me from having any time for blogging.   As you may well have guessed last year was not an easy one as we continued to try to sort out our flood damaged cottage with the insurers, keep up with the extra demands of work since the death of my colleague and progress the probate to a conclusion.

But…it was not all doom and gloom and the highlight of the year was my eldest daughters decision to get married in the July.  The wedding on 30th July was followed on the 31st with our Ruby Wedding anniversary and my granddaughters 2nd birthday on the 1st August – what a weekend of celebrations and cake spent with friends and family.

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I spent every spare minute between January and July planning and organising the wedding, sewing miles and miles of bunting, making confetti, favours, invitations and doing alterations.  Believe me, 6 months is not very long to do everything you have to do to for a wedding especially as it took place in Scotland 250 miles away in my husband’s home town.  Having our cottage out of action did not help but my daughter felt she could not hang on any longer for it to be fixed so we went ahead and hired a farmhouse nearby for the week.

Wedding Flowers

We had the most wonderful day – glorious weather which was just as well as the reception was very much an outdoor wedding held at Castle Kennedy Gardens on the Castle Kennedy estate owned by Lord Stair.  It was here that my daughter’s Great granddad lived and worked as head gardener from the twenties to about 1960.  The wedding ceremony took place in the nearby Inch Church where her dad was baptised and her grandparents worshipped.  So a very special place for our family and what better place for a wedding.

The style of the wedding was a mix of formal and informal but very much home made with lots of summery flowers, peonies and roses in peaches and creams.  The bridesmaids wore floaty long coral dresses and the little one ivory.  The formal ceremony took place in church and a white Morris Minor took them on to the reception.  We had an old fahsioned Afternoon Tea on picnic tables before the sit down buffet of salads and cold meats for the evening meal in the marquee, then lots of dancing.

We made plenty of these signs to get people from their hotels to the church and reception…

wedding-signs

and we made all the notices from free pieces of wood from the recycle bin outside the Ikea store in Leeds and painted them with blackboard paint…

the-running-order

We also made some of the flower arrangements ourselves…these hanging cones on the stone pillars at the entrance to the Church were made of chicken wire lined with Sphagnum moss

with a hidden jam jar of water inside to hold the flowers…

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The bride and groom left the church to the sound of Scottish pipes…

outside-the-church

We held a drinks reception in the beautiful walled garden by the old ruin castle.

castle kennedy

With plenty of bubbles being blown

Wedding Bubbles

We also made large cut out photo frames and dotted these around the grounds for guests to take selfies…

selfies

Then it was afternoon tea on the lawns by the old painted tea room…a casual affair on the picnic tables

Afternoon Tea

 

castle-kennedy

then the afternoon interlude when our guests could wander the grounds or sit and take in the view or play games…putting up the little princess castle proved more difficult than putting up the marquee…

little-castle

but it proved to be a big hit with the kids…

Playtime

and everyone amused themselves in the sunshine whilst the bridal party had all their pictures taken…

bridal-party

Then all too soon it was time for the sit down buffet in the marquee – we decorated this ourselves with bunting and paper lampshades and large vases of hydrangeas from our cottage garden…

marquee

We designed and made the table plans that complemented the invitations and mounted these on long sticks stuck into herb pots…

seating-plans

the favours we made were tiny biodegradable seed pots (10p for 30) with a packet of wild flower seeds in printed envelopes placed inside

and a packet of Scottish shortbread made by a friends mum…

on each table was a different poem or verse about love and marriage and flowers…

table-numbers

 

Marquee

after the meal we had a lot of fun with the speeches…

the-speeches

and finally the ceilidh with music provided by the brilliant band the Veritable Ceilidh Club…

marquee-at-night

then everyone joined in the dancing and on such a warm evening we were able to spill outside  – it all looked very magical by night lit up with fairy lights and candles around the castle and large lanterns in the trees –  and not a midge in sight…how lucky were we?

marquee-outside

Once the wedding day and celebrations were over it was straight back to dealing with the insurers over the flood damage and the probate project. In October we bought a caravan to put on site at the cottage – it is wonderful to have a base at last.  No more B&B’s and hotels… a place to call  home at last until we get our cottage sorted.l1040676

Just to leave you with a recent picture of my granddaughter – she has grown quite a bit over the past year and she is just a joy to us all.

xmas-selfie

So a very apprehensive blogger is looking forward to the coming year and hoping it will be a year where we actually see some results for all our hard work during the last few difficult years.

A belated Happy New Year to you all – I have a lot of catching up to do and I hope some of my old blogging friends are still out there.

 

 

 

 

50th Birthday Card in the making…

It was my colleague’s 50th birthday recently and I have a special card that I make for major birthdays as a keepsake which is made up of some of my watercolour sketches of my favourite flowers and this poem…

‘Your Birthday is a day of Promise’ by Emily Matthews

This is a day of promise
Of the beauty and warmth life can hold,
And of new dreams to dream
and more love to share
Through a year that’s about to unfold.

Daisy

 Firstly I print each individual watercolour that has one line of the poem running aross it on some off white A6 (postcard sized) card from Paperchase.

 

Fifty Birthday Card5

  I then lightly score them and neatly fold them almost in half leaving a little tab at the end to join one card with another with narrow double sided tape…

 Fifty Birthday Card 4

  like this…

Fifty Birthday Card 3

  I then print the outside cover which is another piece of A6 card that I score twice near the middle and fold to form a book spine.  I stick the body of the card to the outer leaf enclosing a length of ribbon between them…

 Fifty Birthday Card 2

after writing a greeting on the back leaf I then fold the concertina neatly into the outer leaves and wrap the ribbon round to hold.  The finished size is 10.5cm x 7cm or half A6 size.

 Fifty Birthday Card

She had a great time…

50th Birthday

 

Have a good weekend x

Craft it Forward – anyone want to play?…

One morning a few weeks ago I picked up a surprise package from our local sorting office.  It was from Alys over at Gardening Nirvana – she took part in Crafting it Forward read here  and I was one of the lucky people to receive a handmade gift from her and as you will see she is one talented gardener and crafter.  Apologies to Alys that it has taken me this long to write this post, but you will agree it has been well worth the wait.

 

Craft it Forward Parcel

 

The package was beautifully wrapped in tissue and ribbon – almost too nice to unwrap and this is what I found inside.

 Craft it Forward Cards

Ten beautiful handmade cards with pretty matching envelopes

 

Craft it Forward Butterfly

 

My photos do not do them justice

Craft it Forward Fairy Card

They are absolutely stunning I feel very honoured to have them

Craft it Forward envelopes

 

So now it is my turn to make something for 5 people and send it to them by snail mail during 2014.  When those 5 people receive my crafted item they must then agree to do the same deal for 5 more on their blog, Facebook or Google+.  I have never taken part in anything like this before and at the moment I can’t say what I will be making but it will probably be a handmade Artists Book. 

So if you are interested in taking part get ready steady go…I will make something handcrafted for the first five people to leave a comment on this post.

http://gardeningnirvana.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/dsc_0014-001.jpg?w=625

60th Birthday Bash…

The Error Horror

Last night we went to a 60th Birthday Party of a dear friend of mine who also happens to be my boss at work!  I was sure I already had a card with 60 on it but when I came to find it in my card box – I was mistaken and to my horror it had a great big 50 on it!!!

The Idea

However, all was not lost as I decided there was nothing to it but to get out my crafting tools and make one.  It has given me chance to use my newly acquired Vintage Numbers stamp set that I bought as a present to myself from Paperchase.  They really are wonderful to use and although I thought pricey at the time the quality of the stamp is very precise and nice to work with.  The set comes with a pad of black ink.

The Task

As I only had 30 minutes to come up with a finished product I had to keep to something very simple.  So after a bit of a play around I settled on stamping the 6 ad 0 different ways on a piece of white card.  I then cropped close in to the print keeping it a good square shape, then mounted this onto black card just slightly bigger to give it a finished edge and then mounted the whole thing centrally onto a bright purple card and voila!

The Finished product

I thought it was quite in keeping both with his party invite which was done in that ‘Ransom Note’ style and the dress code which was ‘Bright’.

The Temptation

I might even be tempted now to buy the vintage letter set when I next find myself in Paperchase (which will be when we visit my mum-in-law in Shrewsbury).  When we have spent a few hours in the care home having had slightly odd and often bizarre conversations with most of the residents – my mum-in-law included, we usually bring ourselves back into the ‘real’ world by spending the last half hour in the town centre browsing in one or two of my favourite shops.

The Realisation

I am already looking forward to using my Christmas Stamp set (from Waterstones) this year for cards and having realised that there is only one week left of September I had better get some ideas set in motion for Christmas pretty soon.

Is anyone else making their own cards for Christmas and how soon do you start?

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Christmas Crafts

I love to hear all your comments and suggestions if you have the time – have a good day x