27 April 2017

Neglect And Activity

Oh dear, I have been seriously remiss with my blog, and visiting my favourite blogs. 
Once I came out of hibernation I felt the need to do things. 
Gardening, my allotment, visits to garden centres, days out, craft projects, 
reading, Easter, bowls matches, coffee mornings, 
and the blog was neglected. 

March saw a lot of activity on my allotment. 
Sowing potatoes and onions followed by carrots, beetroot, swede, runner beans and broccoli. 
Next I will put tomatoes and sweetcorn in. 

A few weeks ago a friend and myself went to an afternoon tea given by a group of Handbell Ringers. 
It was a lovely afternoon of quizzes, tombola, sandwiches, cake and scones and jam. 
They then treated us to to a selection of their beautiful music. 
The money raised goes to their chosen charity and to help with the upkeep of the bells.

Once a month we have coffee mornings in my village raising money for good causes, 
the current one is Essex Air Ambulance. 
We have tea, coffee and cake, a good old natter and a raffle. 

I won this lovely set at one of them. 
Sanctuary, one of my absolute favourites, I adore the fragrance.

We also had a village "Big Lunch"
A two course lunch for £6 yes £6!! 
The choices were lasagne or a variety of quiches, 
I chose bacon and mushroom quiche with new potatoes, salad and coleslaw, 
followed by apple crumble and custard. 
It was absolutely delicious. 

Then came Medieval Mayhem
archery, stocks, tug of war, maypole dancing, 
apple bobbing, crockery smashing, good food 
and an impressive collection of old and new tractors

Collage courtesy of  PicMonkey

my contribution for the tea and cake stall - a mocha cake, a family favourite.
I used to bake this for my girls when they were teenagers, they loved it.

me attempting to hit the target! I got arrows in the red and blue zones!

ye medieval crusader checking the smashed crockery!

Well that's enough for now 
need to do some work on a quilt 
will tell you about that soon
and my visit to Downton Abbey  :-)

Hope you have a good weekend

Polly x

26 April 2017

Little Bags of Happiness

Can you find happiness in a bag?

Happiness: described as a sense of well-being, joy, or contentment. Many things make us happy - being in love, family, good friends, being on holiday, a newborn baby, a hot sunny day, material possessions - wait, what, material possessions, are they meant to make us happy or is happiness from material things considered shallow, trivial, superficial? Well it depends, I have known people who obsessed about having the newest, biggest or best of everything, I think that's superficial, but it made them happy. I have nice things in my home and things that I "make do" with. But when we eventually do get a new kitchen I will be very, very, very happy.

Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be
Abraham Lincoln

There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved
George Sand

Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city
George Burns

I felt happy with these little bags or rather what was in them - sale bargains. 
Oasis is my favourite store at the moment.

This was only £10

And this was half price at £25

It's easy to get carried away with sales, buying just because it's reduced. With the £10 top I know I will get pleasure from wearing it in the summer. When I first saw the jacket in the sale soon after Christmas I didn't buy it because I told myself that I didn't really need it. Upon returning home I regretted that decision. I didn't need it but I wanted it. I couldn't find it online and it was no longer in the shop a few days later. So imagine my delight when it was back in the sale a couple of weeks ago. Wearing it makes me happy. So in answer to my question above, yes I can find happiness in a bag.

Perfect happiness is a beautiful sunset, the giggle of a grandchild, the first snowfall.
It's the little things that make happy moments, not the grand events.
Joy comes in sips, not gulps. 
Sharon Draper

I hope you find many sips of happiness in all sorts of places

Polly x

24 April 2017

The Dollshouse: Mr Teen's Room

Although Mr Teen's room was easier to construct than Miss Teen's, it wasn't without a few difficulties.  

I wanted to create a New York type theme room. My first job was brick textured wallpaper. 

I was very pleased with this, it was just the colour I wanted to go with a dark wood floor.

I started the floor with some left over bits of wood in various colours, 
some had been painted, some had varnish on, some were very messy. 
That piece of red plastic is a cake caddy, it had cake in it, homemade, 
I think it was lemon cake, it was good.

It took ages and many coats of wood stain to get them all the same colour, 
but I didn't want to waste them. 
After a few coats of varnish they turned out well.

I then started to look around for furniture and once again because the top of the house is smaller than 1/12th scale everything I was looking at was too big.  Kits seemed the only way to go.

So with kits for a bed, wardrobe and media wall unit I was good to go.

The bed was very easy to assemble

The wardrobe however wasn't.

Those tiny pins had to go into the top and bottom of the doors, and then into the body of the wardrobe. The edges with the pins in then had to be sanded to a rounded D shape 
to enable the doors to open and close smoothly. 
One worked well the other didn't, but it looks ok, it just has to remain permanently closed.

Two drawers fitted into the bottom of the wardrobe

and I was pleased with the finished result.

The media unit was problematic, but largely due to me being overly fussy. 
It went together well. It was meant to have a shiny white film over it, like formica, but instead of looking like a smooth glossy finish it looked more like a badly wrapped parcel.

so I put some scrap bits of wood inside to prevent it from warping and decided to paint it. 

I used spray paint but sometimes it dripped and collected in little pockets at the bottom of the unit, so I tried to smooth them out and made it worse! Then there were the times I left fingerprints on it when I held it to inspect it! So I would put yet another coat of paint on. I created more work and took more time than was necessary. 

But the end result was good.

The standard light behind the sofa was a bit fiddly.

 I stuck the wire along the edge of the stair rail, round the end

 then along the wall behind the jukebox.

I bought the sofa and jukebox and made the bean bag from the same material I had used for the duvet cover and pillow. 

I found a tutorial on youtube. Make a template and cut out 5 shapes. 
Sew together leaving an opening for the stuffing, I used rice. 
The first one just didn't sit properly, it was too flat. 

So for the second attempt I used only 3 shapes, it was much better.

The side table and foot stool are Pandora jewellery boxes! 

There are still bits and pieces to add, but for the time being it's finished.

15 April 2017

Happy Easter


However you celebrate Easter I hope it will be full of happiness

and if you're like me, flowers and chocolate :-)

Polly x

10 April 2017

A Good Read

Untorn Tickets by Paul Burke
Essentially a coming of age tale. 
Notting Hill 1978, the story focuses on Andy Zymancyk and Dave Kelly the teenage offspring of staunchly Catholic Polish and Irish families. Both are pupils of St Bede's Roman Catholic Grammar School for Boys, an institution whose "manifesto of academic and sporting excellence, religious fervour and iron discipline" is described by headmaster, Father "Johnny Mac" McLafferty, as "work hard, play hard and pray hard". 
Part-time jobs in Westbourne Grove's Gaumont Cinema provide the boys with rather a different kind of education which changes their lives in more ways than they can imagine. 
They become friends and together develop a scam whereby they resell untorn cinema tickets and recycle coke cups to supplement their meagre wages--just the thing when old soul 45s, mod suits, Vespa scooters, Ford Cortinas and girls appear infinitely more interesting than school work and Catholic piety. 
At the cinema, Dave meets and falls in love with Rachel, a glamorous Jewish girl, who, like him, craves freedom from unquestioning religious conformity. Andy too is in love, unfortunately, the recipient of his infatuation is his cousin, Alison. 
With schemes afoot to transform St Bede's sixth form into a separate college, and plans to turn the Gaumont into a bingo hall, the future looks less than rosy. 
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's very funny, poignant and nostalgic with great characters.  

2 April 2017

Tunbridge Wells And Sackville College

Last month I had a day trip to Tunbridge Wells, it was a disappointment. I thought it would be a larger place with more to see and more going on, which to be fair in summer there probably would be more activities, but on an overcast day in March it was a bit of a let down. There are lots of places around the town, but we arrived at 10.15 and had to be back at the coach at 1pm, just enough time for coffee, browsing the few shops that were open and lunch. 

The Pantiles area is very nice, with artisan shops and a good combination of cafes and restaurants. Shame the coach company hadn't done a bit of homework to find out about the markets held on the 1st and 3rd weekends with stalls of food, vintages and crafts.

One of those lovely old fashioned ironmongers shops that sells all manner of kitchen equipment.

I had no idea there were so many types of wooden spoons

or sieves

 something for the dog

There are some very nice buildings around the town

The weather turned to rain 
but the afternoon was much better 
with a visit to Sackville College Almshouse in East Grinsted. 

The statue is Sir Archibald McIndoe, the world renowned pioneering plastic surgeon.

Sackville College is a very attractive Jacobean Almshouse founded by Robert Sackville, the Earl Of Dorset, in 1609 and still in use as an Almshouse today. In his will the Earl provided a sum of money with which to buy land and “build a convenient house of brick and stone” to be used as an almshouse. Almshouses were established as a place of residence for poor, old and distressed people.

The original meaning of college is an organised body of persons engaged in a common pursuit, a self-governing constituent body offering living quarters.

The College is built of Sussex sandstone around a quadrangle and contains large mullioned windows and four fine old doorways

The main entrance

One door leads to what used to be the communal kitchen for the residents.

Quite a cosy room where we had tea and cake after the tour.
The tea was good but the piece of cake I had was dry.

Another door leads to the quarters used by the Sackville family for overnight accommodation as they journeyed to and from their estates in Sussex. 

The main hall in the Sackville quarters, used for dining and entertaining.

The square window to the right of the picture is where the ladies would look down into the hall to see what the men were getting up to!

To the left of this fireplace is a very old wooden chair which, over the years has been graced  by King Charles II, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and, in June 2014, HRH The Princess Royal while in East Grinstead to unveil the statue of Sir Archibald McIndoe.
People would insist in sitting in it so I decided to go back later to get a photo, unfortunately I forgot, I was too focused on tea and cake!

The Sackville family crest 

And a fourth door to a lovely little chapel

This cosy room was home to one of Sackville's most famous residents, the Victorian hymnologist Revd. Dr. John Mason Neale. He wrote many well known hymns and carols, probably the most famous of which was "Good King Wenceslas"

Dr. Neale also founded the first Anglican sisterhood, the Society of St. Margaret, and was one of the leading figures in the Oxford movement, which endeavoured to revitalise High Church institutions. He died here in 1866 after twenty years as Warden.

Originally this room would have been just a room with bare earth underfoot and no heating. Kitchen and bathroom facilities were communal. But it was much better than being homeless. Residents had to be local to East Grinstead and single. They had to attend church services and abide by various rules and regulations of the Almshouse.  

 Today the College Warden lives in the part of the wing that once served the Sackville family. The College still provides affordable accommodation, now modernised and comfortable, for elderly people. They each have their own flats and the use of the common room and the chapel. The College is a charitable foundation which operates according to an act of Parliament of 1624 and a Royal Charter of 1631.

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