Friday, 26 March 2021

Some touches of Easter at home ...

Easter is almost upon us again & I have been finding the familiar things we use at home.  Last year , Easter was a trying time as we had not long entered lockdown & were still trying to get our heads around the new reality.  I have absolutely no new items at all but looking back over the previous Easter links, I realised that every year is different using the things we have & how the colour scheme changes & things move about the house too. 

This is what 2021 Easter decorations look like - lots of links because I know many of you love the details. 

One of the first things to change is always the conservatory sideboard so we can use the things straight from it. 


I love this vintage flower pot I was gifted about a decade ago - I always put some small daffodils in it in Spring & it is just a firm favourite with its bright raised details. 


The table cloth is a length of fabric I bought & hemmed - the colours will be perfect over Easter.  I love finding fabrics that can be used as table cloths  ...


The sideboard with details that regular followers will be familiar with since I have not bought anything new in ages ... 

The cream Spode Chelsea Wicker plates with their ornamental border set off the brighter wares. This pretty pattern was produced between 1954 -2003 & the pattern is used as a base for some other patterns. The platter is another vintage one that is useful for cakes etc. They are perfect with the other creamware items, some old, some new. 












This vintage glass & chrome jar is a useful treat storage & it appears often at home. 

The running hares bowl & jug were a gift some years back from Bell Pottery in Oxfordshire - they are firm favourites & their colours set the tone for the other items. 

The little rabbit dish & bowl were bought in Graaf Reinet in the Karoo, South Africa,  on a previous visit. I just knew they would sit well with my other things. 

The fused glass bowl is from a glass artist in Aberdeen in the Karoo. Marguerite Beneke is a talented glass artist & I have visited her studio several times to purchase original items from her. 

I often buy art when I travel & I saw these two original prints at an artist in Riga, Latvia & just knew I had to have them. Art is easy to take back in luggage & is a good reminder of places you have visited. They are displayed in simple Ikea Tolsby frames that work well for displays. 

      

The 4 rabbit plates & the two jars (blue & brown) were bought from Dunelm mill shops a few years ago - they are so useful for cakes at Easter. High street items can mix very easily with vintage & handmade if they share a common colour or theme. 

           










The dining room sideboard had a little craft tree that appears often at various times as it is very useful. It has a few favourite Easter items on it. 

   










The Easter bunting I made some years previously is back up on the inglenook fireplace in the lounge - it fits in well & is all that is needed there. The link contains instructions to make it if anyone feels so inclined. 

The front door just gets a simple rabbit shape hung on the door again. I have pots of daffodils framing the door - simple & yet colourful.

I think I am ready for a peaceful Easter weekend, how about you? Do you add seasonal items? Tell all ... 

Thank you for your time to stop by & read;  each & every visit & comment is much appreciated, be safe all please 💖

Dee ~💕~

Monday, 22 March 2021

Lockdown day 365 - My year in review ...

Blogging is useful to be able to return to times past because it is there as a reminder of the time set in stone. This last year has become a bit of a blur with the length of time & how we had little need to focus on the days, weeks, months so they gently blended in time ... 

It is almost incomprehensible that we have been in lockdown of sorts for 365 days - a whole year of life changing restrictions. 

In December 2019, I took several overseas trip, the first to the Christmas markets of Munich, Salzburg & Innsbruck with Ms M, then a Twixmas trip to Cologn, Vallkenberg & Monschau with hubby, enjoying the closeness of the continent. The first reports of a new virus in China started emerging but it felt far away & ‘their problem.’ 

In January 2020, we met the daughters at the Lakes & had a weekend together for youngest birthday - we spoke about the news of the virus & the daughters urged us to sign up to home delivery for our shopping which we ignored. They both said it was time to have the store / stock cupboards fuller with the things we use often.  Having lived in remote locations in various countries, we humoured them because it seemed unlikely that we would have shortages. Little did I know  ... 

Daughter & friends took a rebooked trip to Iceland early February & she said some were already wearing masks on the planes & there was a feeling that it was the calm before the storm that seemed to be coming closer. 

I wrote in March 2020, a year ago now, about living with social distancing & uncertainty as we watched the shop shelves empty & the hospital beds fill up. 


It soon became apparent that we were all in the same storm, not the same boat during this crisis as I stopped teaching in homes & the schools shut on the 20th March 2020 for just a few weeks, or so we thought and on the 23rd March, we started the first of several national lockdowns.  We were all washing our sanitised hands frantically everytime we touched something that was delivered or even the post. I sanitised our postbox flap, the door handles & my handbag in the hope of keeping the virus out ... 



We learnt new words which would become part of our daily vocabulary ... 

This uncertainty was new to us so we took to keeping busy to be distracted - baking bread, scones, pancakesgardening;  making & framing scarves from a trip in Summer 2019;  sewing booksleeves, facemarks (which were largely unavailable), reading, blogging, walking - anything to keep busy. So much free time was something us working people were unused to, as was having no set routine. 

In April, we hoped we had passed the first peak, limited outside exercise beaconed, & our hopes brightened along with the Spring days. I had my first home delivery of shopping as well as my lockdown birthday, just the two of us with cakes & gifts arriving by post -how very different to what we had planned.  I also felt unwell, not hugely ill, just not right with extreme lethargy, muscle pains, felt cold & couldn’t get warm at all, had  a persistent cough that lasted for weeks but with no tests available, I will never know if I had a mild case of Covid. The Covid app I had downloaded of the largest UK study ever told me to self isolate as my symptoms were of Covid.  Easter was with no visitors, a strange cocooned time but I still put up some Easter decorations & set the table for our lunch - the simple things to keep going. We welcomed our first grandchild in to this crazy world but were unable to see him for weeks except on face time. 

In May, I enjoyed the brighter days, of local woodland walks amid the snowdrops & of doing some sorting, changing decor at home & framing a silk scarf I had bought as a souvenir in Vienna.  I framed the second half as a gift for a friend - spreading the cheer ... Our local woodland & lakeside walks became my saving grace as I watched the tree canopy green up above us & the bulbs appear - the small signs in nature that the pace of life was gently progressing. 


In June, I blogged about lockdown day 75, a milestone - head over to be reminded of it. I also took on a little project of making an auricula theatre for plants, using only reclaimed wood as the hardware shops were still largely closed & heavily restricted. I ordered the plants from nurseries online & fortunately had some old terracotta pots. Working away outside in the brighter sun was uplifting.  I continued to sew - the simple repetition of hand sewing requires concentration & the time passes - gently. 


In July, I managed to complete a sewing project that had been on hold for some time - hand sewn banners for daughter with the crest from France. It was an enjoyable project, using many skills but time passed quickly. It was also the 100 days of lockdown, a skewed reality of life suspended. Like many, gardening had been our saving grace, having something to focus on as we carried on ... 



We felt life returning to normal in August as hairdressers & pubs reopened & welcomed the Eat out to Help Out government scheme, I managed to meet up with a friend in our county town for the first time in months - still wearing our facemarks but a feel of freedom was there. We had our first socially distanced friends to a meal at home - the conservatory doors flung open, the meal planned with no shared dishes, the threat of the virus ever present but there was a glimmer of hope in the air  ... I made a special sewing book for a friend & it was a lovely project to just do something really special with the many vintage & modern fabrics I am so fond of. She painted some beautiful cards - head over to look at them. I managed to meet up with friends & Godsons to visit some local sunflower fields - even though we were masked up, it felt like things were improving. We even visited our south Shropshire hills where my maternal ancestors came from - the open space is one of my favourite places ... 



In September, after getting advice on returning to work as an Elective Home Education tutor in people’s home, I tentatively returned to work with a tiny group of students who had space, no vulnerable relatives & limited contact with others. The rules we stuck to were really strict & we followed it to the letter with the parents graciously allowing the sanitising of the tables, additional space, sanitisers & facemarks all round. How different it was & so time consuming ... 



October marked 200 days of lockdown, a number we would have though unimaginable in March when we started this crazy journey. Visiting favourite local places helped as a change of scenery was needed to break the endless days ... 

However, the Autumn months of October & November once again brought an increasing number of Covid 19 cases & rules were tightened again and we just knew that Christmas was not going to be the same. My second European trip was postponed for a whole year - the feeling that life is on hold was hard to come to terms with; planning for longer than a week was fruitless ... 

I blogged about 240 days of lockdown in November, it was hard not to be obsessed with the numbers, as summer gave way to autumn  at home. The familiar rituals help in times of uncertainty & marking the start of Advent seemed predictable. Like many in the UK, for the first time ever, my Christmas tree went up in November, we all seemed to need that sign of hope, the joy of Christmas to lift our flagging spirits. It was fortunate that the first Sunday of Advent fell at the end of November too .... 

I still marked the usual rituals of Advent in  December because that routine gave meaning to an endless state of lockdown & they are the rituals I know which herald in the festive season. The returning of the Winter light at the Solstice is always a turning point for me in Winter, it brings hope & by now, we were in need of hope. Like most of the UK, we had a tiny Xmas with just a returning daughter & us - small but meaningful while face timing daughter, hubby & the new grandson, his first Christmas.

The New Year of 2021 quickly seemed like a repeat of the old except that we all knew of someone who had been ill with the virus. In January it took the life of a beloved Father & put my sister in ICU for 10 days. Dad was not allowed any visits for the 2 days in hospital & died of Covid Pneumonia. 

Vaccines have brought some hope - hubby had his first in January, I had mine in February & there is a glimmer of hope. However, travel is still very much off the cards with many countries not vaccinating at the same pace we are so we do not know if protection will be there. 


Our two long travel trips postponed from 2020 might not even happen in 2021 across Europe. We had planned a trip to take the new babe to meet his great grand Father in November 2020, but that did not happen & he will never now meet him, instead we will have a trip to South Africa to inter Dads ashes in the family grave. 

We approach this milestone of 365 days of national lockdown, with mixed feelings - feeling like we have lost so much, but we have also reset our priorities.  


Lockdown has been tough mentally - our spirits have waned with successive lockdowns because we have lost hope of normality - of meeting with friends, doing something out of the ordinary, having a meal you have not personally supplied & cooked, having something different to speak about, having your identity validated by others not just as a wife or mother. We wear many cloaks of the roles we take on & Covid took away the status & identity associated with our contribution to the work we do. Those of us who are self employed found our lives transformed by changes out of our control, the familiar vanished & we have to take stock of what we want this chapter to look like. Do we want more of the same or is the same even there? Us midlifers have to reinvent what we thought this chapter of our lives would look like with another 30 + years in us ... 

Lockdown has given many of us a taste of retirement (without the pension) & the endless free time is a novelty, but it can be boring after a while, fun if it is not forever - too much of a good thing can be bad.  Being financially independent is also important so this between stage is trying.  It is finding a new balance in life ...

Most of us have Lockdown Fatigue - we want to see light at the end of the Covid tunnel, we want to feel we have control over our lives again & we want to LIVE, not merely exist .... 


Please share how you have found lockdown & life in this changed state. I hope you have found a way through this pandemic & are well.

Thank you for your time to stop by & read;  each & every visit & comment is much appreciated, be safe all please 💖

Dee ~💕~

Tuesday, 16 March 2021

A long overdue update on the sample / hospitality plate ...

Hi everyone, welcome to an update that was sitting in my ‘drafts’ for a way too long. 

I shared a vintage sample plate I owned with the hotels in Southern Africa on it. This was made in the Potteries of Stoke on Trent as a commercial sample, to be taken around the various establishments by a salesman so orders could be taken by hotels etc for their crockery. It was known as hospitality ware.

The wares from our Potteries were highly desirable & were shipped all over the world. 

Many of the places on the JE Heath plate were known to me personally & that was my interest in the plate. Soon after I blogged it, I was contacted by the Pottery Museum in Stoke to ask if they might acquire it for the exhibition & I had no hesitation in donating it to them as it showed the reach of the Staffordshire Potteries during the 19th & 20th centuries. 


The curator kindly followed up with a picture of the plate in the exhibition - it is quite a thrill to know the plate was where it should be.  The plate I donated can be seen in this image from their website on hospitality ware 


Some examples of modern hospitality ware still made in Stoke on Trent 

As per a request, these are some of the hospitality Southern African stamps on the plate I donated (photos taken before I sent it off) 

















Thank you for your time to stop by & read;  each & every visit & comment is much appreciated, be safe all please 💖

Dee ~💕~