30 March 2021

Oaklands Park

What a glorious day it has been here in my part of the UK. My car registered a high of 26 deg sitting in the sunshine! My friend M and I visited Oaklands park. 

The house, a beautiful surburban residence, was built in 1865 for local industrialist Frederick Wells, a director of the Chelmsford Brewery, on land purchased from the estate of the influential Mildmay family.
The house was used as a hospital in World War I, and when it came up for sale in 1930 Chelmsford Borough Council bought it for use as Chelmsford Museum and Essex Regiment Museum.
The additional wing at the side is quite modern but blends in with the original building.
In 2019, the museum had a full refurbishment, with a new cafe, interactive displays and new artefacts.

The grounds are lovely with wooded areas, flower beds and two adventure play areas. 

This group of trees is very popular with children, it's like a den inside.

The Hive cafe has an extensive menu offering delicious home made sandwiches, breakfast and brunch, afternoon tea, and a host of gorgeous mains and desserts. They have a restricted take-away menu at the moment so M and I had coffee and cake sitting on a bench in the shade. Next time we go we are going to take a picnic.
∼ Be safe and well ∼ 
Polly x

24 March 2021

A Good Read

The Uncommon Reader by the wonderful treasure that is Alan Bennett
An absolutely charming, witty, (and a little cheeky) novella celebrating the pleasure of reading. Our protagonist is none other than HRH Queen Elizabeth.
One day whilst Her Majesty is  walking with her corgis in the grounds of Buckingham Palace the dogs wander off. In pursuit of them she sees the Westminster travelling library parked just  outside the Palace gates, and feels duty bound to borrow a book. Her first choice, a novel by Ivy Compton-Burnett isn’t exactly a page turner but on her next visit she meets Norman, a young man who works in the palace kitchen and frequents the library.
Aided by Norman Her Majesty soon develops a passion for reading. Devouring work from Hardy to Brookner, from Proust to Beckett, she is never without a book in her hand or her handbag, and as a consequence her public duties begin to suffer. Her equerries decide the reading has gone too far and conspire to bring the Queen’s literary journey to a close. 

Some favourite quotes:
"Read ma'am?"
"When I get a chance, ma'am. I never seem to find the time”.
"That's what a lot of people say. One must make the time. Take this morning. You're going to be sitting outside the town hall waiting for me. You could read then."
What she was finding also was how one book led to another, doors kept opening wherever she turned and the days weren't long enough for the reading she wanted to do.
"Books are not about passing the time. They are about other lives. Other Worlds. One reads for pleasure," said the Queen."It is not a public duty."
"You don't put your life into your books. You find it there."
As it was, with this one she soon became engrossed, and passing her bedroom that night clutching his hot-water bottle, the Duke heard her laugh out loud. He put his head around the door
"All right, old girl?''
"Of course, I'm reading."

I love the idea of Prince Phillip taking a hot water bottle to bed!

I do hope Her Majesty has read this book, and laughed out loud. It is a gem.

∼ Happy Reading ∼
Polly x

20 March 2021


I've cut my hair!! nothing drastic, not the layers just the back bit, about an inch, I couldn't stand it any longer. My daughter tidied up a few bits I couldn't see very well and it actually looks good, almost a new style.

My walk in wardrobe is getting awkward to walk into. On the floor are four bags of clothes and stuff waiting to go to a charity shop and three bags of quilts waiting to be collected by the Project Linus co-ordinator. There isn't anywhere else to put them without them getting in the way all the time. 

Lockdown has provided us with an opportunity to have a good sort out of things we no longer need. 
My daughter gives me items for charity shops, even my grandson has sorted out his clothes!

I finished the last quilt just before Christmas. Most of them were made using material and fleece left over from previous quilts. I did buy some new fleece for some of them. 

I'm a bit OCD about colours matching and co-ordinating, and themes, but a lot of the left over material was small amounts that wouldn't do this so I just had to go with what I had, but once they were sewn together I was pleased with the results.

This one above is just ok

I like this one

I just about had enough for this nautical/fish/shell theme with a few neutral whites to fill in.

I love this one, it's Mostly Disney characters - 101 Dalmations, Jungle Book, Bambi, Mickey Mouse and Dumbo, with a few Peter Rabbits. I spent a lot of time looking for more material to make quilts of each character, to no avail. But I think it's lovely and I'm sure there is a little girl or boy somewhere who will be happy to own it.

After making a Christmas quilt for my Aussie daughter I had some material left over but not enough
for another quilt so I bought some more, then I had too much! so I made this slightly larger one, it
has 7 squares across and 8 down instead of 7 x 7, and a small border on the top and bottom.

This is a favourite

And this one

This is number one favourite.
Made from strips, it's time consuming but very rewarding. After making this quilt I vowed I would never do a multiple backing again - that note to self didn't last long! This backing was much easier though.

It isn't a true square, it went a bit wonky. It started out well, I made a template from
a finished quilt and sewed the strips onto quilting paper starting with pinks 

then mauve, orange, green, yellow and blue, finishing with reds and a few left over pinks. It started going wonky about 3/4 of the way through but I just couldn't work out how to correct it.

This one reminds me of rhubarb and custard!

This is very pretty

Hopefully we will soon be out of lockdown and I can reclaim my walk in wardrobe! 

Be safe and well ~
Polly x

17 March 2021

Aries March 21 - April 19

Miss Clair Voyant's horoscope for Aries.

Sharing your Aries birthday with, among a few million others, Lady Gaga, Vincent Van Gogh, Hugh Hefner, Elton John and Maya Angelou. 

A bit about the personality
Aries are loud, proud, strong and brave, and one of the most loyal of the zodiac. They can be pretty needy, commanding total attention, loyalty and capacity to entertain them....…..then they get bored REAL fast. 
They have a very warm and passionate nature. Their Mars ruler makes them competitive and full-on. They have a big presence, they can light up a room, and mostly, they’re lovely to be around because they genuinely care about other people. Just don’t get into a competition with them, because we all know how that will end up.

Aries prediction
Tune in Aries! as Mercury floats into Pisces and your twelfth house of healing and soulful inspiration this could be an exhilerating and exciting time for you, but try not to take on more than you can handle. Your vision is quite optimistic, and you might overestimate what you are capable of doing down the road! However, one or two projects can be inspiring and also quite innovative.
Since you tend to keep a lot in your head, it might be helpful to verbalize the “inner processes” with colleagues or friends. They could help increase your brilliance.
Try a new morning practice, like writing in your journal before you open any browser, check emails or scroll through your texts.
When the sun blazes into Aries, and, later when Venus swoops into Aries you could be trending in every way - you could be having your birthday cake and eating it! 

Be safe and well ~
Polly x

14 March 2021

Mother's Day

 Happy Mother's Day 

to all us wonderful, loving, caring Mums

I received these lovely gifts from my darling daughter,
a smelly candle and a generous wine glass

it says sip sip hoo ray on it

and flowers from my son-in-law.

My grandson is cooking a roast beef dinner later, assisted by his dad. 
I will have my favourite Asti Spumante in my new wine glass.

Enjoy your day.

∼ Be safe and well ∼
Polly x

9 March 2021


What a glorious day it has been here today, non stop sunshine all day. 

Earlier this morning I walked into the family room and saw this 

that on Rufus' nose was a sticky label I removed from a mango I had for breakfast, and put in the bin.
Let's zoom in a little closer

Irrefutable evidence of what Rufus had been up to when no one was looking. I thought I had
closed the lid. I don't think he found anything and there wasn't any mess. 

You've got to laugh!

Be safe and well ~

Polly x

5 March 2021

A Good Read

Three things about Elsie by Joanna Cannon

"There are three things you should know about Elsie,” said Florence.“ The first thing is that she’s my best friend. The second is that she always knows what to say to make me feel better, and the third thing….. might take a little bit more explaining”.
84-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, Florence wonders if a terrible secret from her past is about to come to light; and, if the charming new resident is who he claims to be, why does he look exactly like a man who died sixty years ago?
Although Florence’s mind can be very sharp, she has large memory gaps from her past, she struggles with memories, secrets and challenges that old age creates.
The novel is set in a care home and touches on many issues associated with old age, but it isn’t all depressing, it is sad but also heartwarming and  funny. It is also a story about the enduring bonds of love and friendship.
Beautifully written with lovely characters.

∼ Happy Reading ∼
Polly x

1 March 2021

Dolls House No. 2 The Kitchen

Lighting was the first job I did in the kitchen back in 2016! Four years, and many rooms later I started working on it again. I really didn't know what style or colour I wanted. I had small samples of wallpaper dotted around the room, none of which I particularly liked so eventually I opted for a textured wallpaper painted white.

Note the door in the far right corner. I got to thinking about the family living here, with particular emphasis on the pets and shopping, ie access to and from the garden and garage would probably be better via stairs directly from and to the basement rather than through the hall. I know, I know, I overthink things and make more work for myself, but I liked the idea! And miniaturists are allowed artistic license :-)

I already had a large door in my stash for the basement and I made this one for the kitchen
from card stock. After cutting out the 4 panels I glued some card onto
the back of the door and stuck the smaller panels onto it

gave it a couple of coats of paint and stuck a door knob into the card.
I realised too late that the surround bits aren't equal, I should have made the cupboards wider
and cut a bit off the left side but I couldn't be bothered to re-do it all!

The flooring was a piece of wallpaper from a DIY store.

I wanted to make as much of the furniture as possible, partly to save money
but also for the satisfaction of doing it. I cut all the wood pieces with my dremel.

First piece of furniture was the fridge freezer starting with template pieces made from foamboard. 
I forgot the top and bottom pieces but did remember them for the proper wood build. 

I covered the sides and top in one length of fablon and put a narrow strip along the base leaving the front bare. I cut two rectangles for the doors and covered the fronts and put strips around the edges. 
I then glued the backs of the doors onto the front of the fridge. A logo printed from the web and two handles made from a large paperclip completed the build.  

Making the cupboards was more difficult, I didn't haven't anything to work from, so I took some measurements from online and went from there.

Base units, looking a bit rough

especially the one on the right!

But once the doors, the cooker front and the worktop were on they looked much better.
I bought the cooker panels from a great company called Elf.

I used white fablon for the plinths and worktop and a Heidi Swapp tape for the cupboards.
Next I glued a piece of card stock to the back of the units to make a splashback.

I don't know where these tiny white tiles came from, they have been in my stash for ages, they were ideal for here. I found the splashback online and printed it onto gloss photo paper. There were tiny gaps each side of the tiles and it slotted into them beautifully. I thought yellow and green would add a nice vibrant splash of colour.

The top drawers are rectangles of wood with "front" pieces glued onto them, and the same paperclip handles. Joining them at the top is a small piece of wood. Then I made the extractor hood.

The mesh was made from an old shower scrunchy, glued onto the wood then painted black. Finished off with a covering of silver foil.

Now for the fun bit, the island unit. I just sort of guessed the measurements and made a few templates. When I was happy with one I cut out the bits of wood, glued them together and covered in white fablon.

I cut out a hole for a sink (MacDonalds ketchup tub!), and glued on the taps.
The fruit bowl is a bottle top and is only meant to be temporary. I appreciate the sncaccident poster!
The other poster reads "My dream kitchen has someone else in it cooking and cleaning"

Making the stools was a bit of a challenge, these are the best of three attempts! I cut the best circles I could with my dremel then sanded and tidied them. To stain or not to stain. I did three samples of wood stain and chose the light teak. I glued three legs on each stool and covered the seats with material.

I made the oven glove and microwave, the posters and clock were printed from the web and I kept the radio from Dollshouse no. 1 when I sold it. The fruit bowl is a milk carton lid, I'm going to try making one with papier mache. I made a cat and dog bowls but they're a bit rough so I might buy some.

So all I have to do now is make a washing machine and some cupboards for the basement and ........
Number 2 Dollshouse will be FINISHED.

Be safe and well ~
Polly x

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