21 September 2020

Woodbridge and Aldeburgh

Woodbridge is a pretty market town on the banks of the river Deben in Suffolk. With lovely shops, pubs and restaurants, and on the edge of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty it is a perfect place to stay for a few days, or as a base to explore the Suffolk coast.

M and I visited a few weeks ago as one of our day trips. We had a lovely day with beautiful weather.

The Guildhall 

Market stalls behind the Guildhall with a lovely open air cafe

St Mary's Church

It's very pretty


And home to the Deben millenium frieze. A brief history of Woodbridge over the past two thousand years seen through the eyes of some of the creative and artistic people of the town. It grew from an idea by Sarah Evelegh and her husband Mike, chairman of the Woodbridge Millenium committee who, in 1998 approached the Deben Decorative and Fine Arts Society who agreed to support the project. It was a labour of love, started in September 1998 by sixty volunteers sewing individual pieces in their own homes, and completed in March 2000.

The Tidemill

A short drive away was our next stop, the seaside resort of Aldeburgh. 
The High Street offers wonderful opportunities for browsing, with trendy boutiques, antiques and arts, a glorious book shop, a cinema, over priced ice cream shops, and a huge variety of culinary feasts. Unfortunately the two fish'n'chip shops were take away only so we went to one of the many cafes. After browsing the shops and lunch we walked along the promenade.

Further along the beach is the iconic scallop shell. This four metre high sculpture was conceived by Suffolk-born artist Maggi Hambling, and made by Aldeburgh craftsmen Sam and Dennis Pegg, It was unveiled in 2003 as a tribute to Benjamin Britten who moved there in 1947 and was the founder of the Aldeburgh Festival. He wrote "I write music now, in Aldeburgh, for people living there, and further afield, indeed for anyone who cares to play it or listen to it. But my music now has its roots, in where I live and work."

I set off to see it up close, it was about a mile walk, M rested up and sat on a bench. I didn't get there though, not because of the distance but because the weather turned very hot, there was no shade and I didn't have any sun screen with me. I bought a postcard instead.

I saw this on my way back, perhaps I should have hopped in it :-) 

Be safe and well ~
Polly x

16 September 2020

Libra September 23rd - October 22nd

Miss Claire Voyant's horoscope for Libra

Sharing your Libra birthday with ME, John Lennon, Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Julie Andrews, and a few million others.

The Personality
Libras are best known for our love of balance, not in the way of tightrope walking, but in keeping everything on a fair and even keel, hence the scales. We thrive on making things orderly, harmonious and aesthetically pleasing. We cannot stand chaos or mess. We are the astrological equivalent of Marie Kondo!
Being ruled by Venus the goddess of art and pleasure we have a love for all things beautiful, and we ourselves are charming and beautiful social butterflies.  Relationships are important to us, we love being in love. We make excellent friends, being supportive and loyal confidants. 
We can also be super creative and clever, which is why so many Libras are artists, writers, actors, actresses, athletes, and dancers. Sometimes, we can even be politicians, especially due to our diplomatic nature. We are people-pleasers, which usually makes us popular with others, and if there’s drama afoot, we love playing mediator and exercising our diplomacy skills. We are the kings and queens of compromise. And we are extremely generous.
WOW we're almost perfect  😂

We're not though so let's look at the negatives. We can be:
Indecisive (yes often)
Overthinkers (yes)
Superficial (oh dear I hope not)
Shallow (ditto above)
Self-indulgent (occasionally)
Gossipy (well someone has to be!)

Libras prediction
The presence of major planets like Jupiter, Mercury and Saturn in the fourth house denotes that a major change is in the offing, so get ready to ride the train of success.
This is a good time to follow through on projects. Leaving many unfinished matters in your life only creates clutter that keeps other things from entering the picture. Either dismiss the project entirely or finish it and move on to something else. Don't leave things hanging, including people. Tell others what's going on and you'll be more successful in the long run. 
A Venus-Mars trine (an angle formed on a birth chart) can point to some romantic excitement or a rekindling of feelings. Love (or lust) may be starting to grow. For some Libras this could be a romance that makes your toes curl.
Some news that you've been waiting for could arrive, and it will leave you feeling pretty darned delighted! You need to find a way to share your happiness with the people who make you happiest. If you can plan something around food, try to arrange a small get-together. If not, just bask in the accolades that you so richly deserve. This could be the beginning of a whole new chapter.

Be safe and well ~
Polly x

8 September 2020

A Good Read

Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley
For animal lovers this is a real tearjerker. It’s a story about love, a deep and beautiful love for that special someone you trust and can’t live without. For Ted that special someone is Lily, an ageing dachshund.
Ted is a lonely, middle-aged gay man who loves no one as much as he loves Lily. Lily ‘talks’, they have conversions. After ten wonderful years together Ted notices a lump on Lily’s head, which he calls the octopus (because it resembles said mollusc), an octopus that no dog or person should have. 
Everything Lily has to endure Ted is there to endure it with her. Like the time she has a seizure and urinates on him, Ted just keeps holding her. It's heartbreaking.
The journey to eliminate the octopus becomes surreal and Ted's constant repetition about it and how he "looks it in the eye" and actually talks to it becomes a little tedious. Despite this and the outpouring of tears I did enjoy this endearing story.

〜 Happy Reading 
Polly x

4 September 2020

Another Nice Walk

Another walk you might like to join me on.
I like this walk but we don't do it very often because it goes round a fishing lake that is open all year round so I don't let the dogs off their leads. I went a couple of times during lockdown, but even without the fishermen there it was difficult to let them off because I couldn't see far enough ahead to get them on their leads if anyone was coming towards us.
I don't think I will do this walk with Buster anymore, he's doing very well, he loves to run off the lead, but this is quite a long walk and I'm not sure he would cope. It's difficult to gauge just how far he can go, he doesn't know that wherever we go we have to do the same distance home!

Back to the lake walk. 
From my house, down the road

Past the school

the horses

and the duck pond with a bridge across to their cute little houses

through the mighty oak trees

onto the field.
We're heading for that row of trees on the horizon. On hot days there is no shade, on cold winter days the wind whips around the fields, and with no trees or hedges for shelter it's mighty cold.

Arriving at the trees heading for that bridge barely visible behind the grass.
Dear Buster, before his operation.

more bridges into the wood

and we arrive at the fishing lake

There are over 40 pitches. It's a lovely site.

The guy at this tent had everything he needed for a few days stay. A comfy camp bed and sleeping bag, cooker, cool bag and food. All the comforts of home. I wouldn't mind camping in this pretty and quiet area, as long as it stayed warm and sunny!

These parents were making a heck of a racket which I thought was aimed at me

Then I saw the other family a few metres away

Continuing all the way round the lake coming back to where we arrived.
Back through the wood, onto the field and back home.

I hope you have enjoyed the walk.

Be safe and well ~ 
Polly x

30 August 2020

The Dollshouse Lounge

At last, it's finished. I think I could have constructed an entire real life house of flat pack furniture in less time than it has taken to complete this room! There are a number of reasons for this:
1. I spend an inordinate amount of time staring into studying a room hoping for inspiration to strike
2. I don't always know how to accomplish what I have in mind
3. I can be a bit of a perfectionist, if something doesn't turn out well I will start it again, and again ...... until I get it right.

I wanted to make everything myself, which explains reason 2 because ..............
Some time ago I sold house number 1 on Ebay for £150, my grandson thought I should have asked more. I explained that things are only worth what someone is prepared to pay, not what has been spent on it.

I've kept a running total of how much I've spent on each house, just as a matter of interest, not for financial reasons, it's my hobby, it gives me a lot of pleasure, it doesn't matter how much I spend, and it's a spend spread over many years. But then my grandson asked how much I have spent on each house. Number 1 was £700, and this one, number 2 so far is £1,400!! to which my grandson said "Nan, that could be two flights to Australia" Now as I said above, it's my hobby, BUT.... he had a valid point. So with that in mind I decided to make as much as I could for the rest of this house and for my next one, not only  to save money BUT for the immense satisfaction of saying "I made that". 

The making of the lounge.
The flooring is stained and varnished spatulas, and the wallpaper was some I had in my stash, nice easy start. Then came the curtains, quite fiddly but I've done fiddly before. Despite wanting to keep the spend to a minimum I was going to buy the furniture, I wanted a chaise sofa but there were none to be had anywhere, so, after finding an excellent tutorial on youtube I set about making one.
First delay - I couldn't decide what colour. I went through the whole spectrum. Definitely not red, pink, orange, yellow, purple, black or brown. Not much left. I liked the idea of white, but the TV unit was going to be white, I thought it would be too much, but in hindsight I wish I had gone with white - I could change it ......... so that only left grey or blue. Blue wouldn't match the curtains, so grey it was. Second delay, the right material. After weeks of searching I found one I liked in Laura Ashley but they wouldn't sell anything less than a metre. I only really needed a quarter metre but I would have bought half, but they were adamant, company policy. After more searching I found a £3.99 skirt in a charity shop! it matched the wallpaper and curtains perfectly.

So let's get started.

Pieces of foamboard. I used double thickness for the back and arms.

glued together

I glued on the material. The material over the back is one piece starting at the seat, over the top and under the back. Same for the base. The arm covering is one strip going from the front underneath, over the arm rest, down the back and underneath, and cut out shapes for each side of the arms. 

For the seats I cut pieces of foam, glued some card on the underside for support and covered them. I put some black foam feet on (which I later covered with silver sticky tape) then made the cushions.
Next job, the chair.

I thought if I did it in the same material it would be too much grey. Although I didn't want purple for the sofa I thought this from my stash provided a nice contrast. It took ages to make because the material is very thin and you could see every lump and bump from the foamboard.
I put 3 layers of white material over the chair before putting the purple material on.

I kept putting off the next job because, well basically I wasn't 100% confident of using my new dremel. But I gave myself a good talking to, along the lines of ..... there's a starting point for everything, we learn as we go along, and, what's the worst that can happen? - I mess it up and start again. I had protective gear -  a face mask and good quality goggles so I took myself off to the shed and started cutting. Securing miniature wood on a full size workmate was a bit tricky at times but I did it, and  produced this

I was so absorbed with it I forgot to take photos. I cut pieces of wood for the front, sides and bottom, a slightly deeper piece for the top to accommodate the overhang at the front, two lengths for pretend drawers, and two legs, one of which isn't right, but it's not seen once it's in place 😊 Then back to the shed for a few coats of spray paint.

Next came the TV, the second attempt

The frame was cut from a piece of plastic and painted with acrylic paint.
The Sky logo was printed and glued to a piece of card.

I glued some strips around the edges, put a piece of clear plastic over the logo image, then glued the frame in place. I cut a piece of old cabling, glued a piece of foam to one end to look like the bit that goes into the tv (the bit at the bottom of the picture), and attached it to the back of the tv.  

I forgot to take a photo of the back of it before sticking it to the wall

This was the second attempt at the bookshelf. The first one broke because it has very small surface areas. I used coffee stirrers for the uprights and wood from my stash for the shelves. I drilled holes in the uprights and the edges of the shelves and attached them to each other with tiny dowels. Finished off with a couple of coats of spray paint. The silver 'bowl' is a bauble from a bracelet with some flowers from a cheap bunch from Hobbycraft. The books are real printed covers glued over foamboard or wood, and the photo frame is silver ribbon glued onto card with a photo of me in New York! I enjoyed making the photo frames and have done more for other rooms.

I found the pictures online and printed them on gloss paper. I made the table by glueing small tiles onto card then painting a straw for the legs. The rug is a piece from some material that I found in a cupboard, I can't even remember when I bought it.

This was also a second attempt. I coloured both sides of small pieces of paper with 2 colours of felt tip pen. Folded the pieces in half and painstakingly cut out the stems and leaves, then coated them with mod podge. I stuck the leaves into some foam in the plant pot, which is the lid from something, I can't remember, maybe hand cream or body lotion. I put some glue around the base of the leaves to secure them and when dry I sprinkled in dried out coffee grinds which make great soil.

I found a tutorial on Youtube for the monstera. I coloured both sides of some paper in two shades of felt tip pen, cut out heart shapes, cut out bits from the leaves and coated them with mod podge. When they were dry I stuck them onto thin florists wire painted with green nail varnish and stuck them into some polystyrene to dry. I then gently bent the wires and leaves, stuck them into foam in another bottle lid, put some glue around the base and filled with coffee grinds.

I can't make lights, well not these sort of lights, so I had to buy them.
The next room is the kitchen - a bit daunting but I've already made templates for a fridge and some units so I'm feeling quietly confident 😊 

Be safe and well ~
Polly x

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