Monday, 26 November 2012

Decorating with maps

My earliest memories of maps has to be my parents pouring over huge roadside maps on their many travels around Africa.

They were also an integral part of my schooling because all the classrooms I can remember had massive maps on the walls - the type that are now highly collectable: maps hung on a mounting stick & in a prominent position.

I was always drawn to their features - physical features like rivers criss-crossing their surface,   mountains & vegetation in various colours; interesting names & shapes ....

We have some of our old maps of Botswana, Zimbabwe,  Namibia & South Africa, Ethiopia - some worn along their crease lines, evident of their usage. This was most definitely pre satnav time ...

We have been using some rather generic IKEA storage boxes in the study but they don't really fit in well so one evening, I had an inspired idea to map them. I found some old Pears encyclopaedia books at a charity shop with loads of A5 size maps in the back which were perfect.

It was a very easy job: I used a craft knife to get the maps out of the books, unscrewed the IKEA boxes then glued them on with pva glue & left it to dry.

 The sides were too white against the aged maps so I used some of the other pages to glue onto the sides too  & it looked just right.

 They are stored on top of a book case in our small, personal study where they look perfectly at home amongst the books ...

This is a close up of the boxes - mapped & interesting now ...

 LONDON on a lid ....

Do you like the boxes? Are you a fan of old maps as decor items? Do you even own maps?

Thanks for stopping by, please leave you link & I will return the visit.

Dee ~♥~

Friday, 23 November 2012

Repotting the Orchids

Some years back, youngest daughter,  StacySparkle decided to buy an orchid for her bedroom. She was taken in by its beauty & having not really been a plant type of person before, I did not expect it to thrive.

After a while, the plant did not look too happy so it appeared in my bedroom & I put it on the west facing windowsill where it has thrived for the last 3 years. 

It has just muddled along with no special care & I have not really done much to it, I did not cut off the flowering stem & it did not die back so I just let it be. 

I recently looked at it again & was surprised to see that where it had flowered it was forming new leaves & roots.  A quick read showed that a new plant had formed so it was time to take some action. 

However, one thing I found out about orchids is that they need special care; special compost; see through pots to keep an eye on the roots so it was off to the garden centre. 

While I was potting it all up, I thought it just as well to repot the new purple one because its roots were too large for the pot & my friend dropped hers off too for repotting. 

Her yellow one looks well but ... her other one was shrivelled (they do need water from time to time ...) and I doubt it will recover. 

But - all done for now - watered with rain water from the water butt (I know, I am trying my best) and then *fingers crossed* they will survive their repotting. 

Do you grow orchids & what tips do you have for me? 

Thanks for stopping by, your comments are always appreciated. 
Dee ~♥~

Saturday, 17 November 2012

All wrapped up ...

Our first frosts are expected now - the temperatures have plunged & the Autumn nip  has given way to a Winter chill tonight.

This photo was taken at Attingham park about 3 weeks ago & it shows what I love most about this time of the year - the colours & the strong lines of the tree branches once the leaves fall ...

Our squirrels have been really busy at the birds nut feeders - stocking up for Winter & burying the nuts all over my lawn ...

The last of the colour in the garden is now - the few Hydrangea heads have mellowed to a faded colour & the fushias are flowering still.

However, no time to just enjoy the garden as there is lots to be done.

I have been getting the garden ready for this by putting the unelegant but very neccessary fleece jackets on my tender plants, moving their pots against the house for protection & making sure that leaves are raked before they can become slippery on the paths ....

Is your garden ready for the colder weather? What are your Autumn tasks?

I love this 101 bits of Autumn fun from 101-bits-autumn-fun from Laura Winslow's blog.

Mine would certainly have baking, reading, wrapping up in a cosy fleece blanket in front of the fire, write overseas cards for the early posting, burn scented candles in our lounge lanterns, get out for walks in the fresh air, take unused coats & jumpers to charity shops so others can enjoy them too, plant some Spring bulbs (done), put out regular food for the birds (done) ...
take a small flask of hot chocolate on a walk with friends ...

Essential Autumn walking things ....

What would be on your Autumn list? 

Thanks for stopping by, share your Autumn lists for inspiration please ♥
Dee ~♥~

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Photographing a beautiful wedding ... #2

I joined my wonderingstar daughter to photograph a wonderingweddings last week & shared it  photographing-a-beautiful-wedding-behind-the-scenes in this blog post.

It was interesting & intense but the couple were the nicest ones you could meet & it was a pleasure recording it for them.

I will now share a few of the photos so you can see why that early morning visit was so important to make sure the spot was going to work for them.

They had chosen Ironbridge as their place of choice for photos - immensely popular with local couples because it is a place we all love.

This shows our chosen spots & the photos later ...

That avenue of trees

The gate

Ironbridge with photos in the popular vintage edit

I am pleased that we took the time to visit the venue early morning to make sure that we had the best places confirmed which fitted into their likes ...

We were also well prepared with our cameras - some with fixed (prime) others with zoom lenses:

Canon 5D with 135mm
Canon 1D with 28-300 L Series IS USM
Canon 40D with 24-105

I have taken photos for years & have had over 350 000 flickr deirdr hits which is good because many flickr photos are (according to statistics) never viewed by anyone except the person who has posted it.

From my Flickr account, I have had numerous requests to use my photos for various things from Wikipaedia Falasha of Ethiopia to requests from Getty for several licenced images for use commercially like this one of  Lilleshall Abbey, Shropshire  and most recently from St. Mary's church in Staffordshire to use my images of the church & it's angels for cards for church funds St. Mary's Stafford . I also took photos for the Bridport Hat Festival .bridporthatfest 2012-deirdre-snook

Photography is a passion & I am always really pleased when my photos are enjoyed by others too.

I hope you have enjoyed my first venture into wedding photography with me. Please leave a comment & a link so I can return the visit.

Dee ~♥~

Sunday, 11 November 2012

The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month

Today, like many around the world, I will pause at 11 o'clock to remember those who gave their lives so we can be free - to them we owe a massive debt of gratitude.

My Grandfather & Grandmother both served during WWII & survived - for this I give thanks!

11 hour of 11th day of 11th month 

This occassion has a strong South African connection.

Sir Percy Fitzpatrick - adventurer, politician and author of Jock of the Bushveld was active in mining, agriculture, business and politics in South Africa and was a friend and confidant of men such as Cecil John Rhodes, Milner, Jan Smuts and Botha and he even lunched with King George V at Buckingham Palace.

Fitzpatrick was a joint founder of the Imperial Light Horse Regiment, which was raised in 1899 and fought during the Boer War, World War One as well as the Second World War.  He was rejected as a recruit but remained an active supporter of the regiment.

On 14 December 1917, his son Major Percy Nugent George Fitzpatrick and Lt Philip Dudley Waller, were struck by a chance German shell at Beaumetz in France. Maj  Fitzpatrick was killed instantly and Lt Waller was mortally wounded and died shortly afterwards.

A grieving Sir Percy Fitzpatrick is credited with initiating the call for the two minute silence to be held annually at precisely 11:00 on Armistice Day, 11 November. 

When he heard that 11 November would be commemorated as Armistice Day, he submitted a written proposal to King George V to call for two minutes of silence to be held annually at 11:00 am on that day to pay homage to the fallen of the war. King George V approved his proposal and, on 11 November 1919, exactly one year after the end of hostilities, the tradition of the two minute silence was initiated.

According to tradition, the first minute is a time of Thanksgiving for those who survived, and the second is a time to remember those who have fallen.

Sir Percy Fitzpatrick purchased the ground and set in motion the train of events which led to the erection of the Delville Wood memorial to honour those South Africans killed in the Battle.

This is our local war memorial at Ironbridge, one of several where wreaths will be laid.

Ironbridge Memorial Shropshire

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them. 

War & Peace poppies I photographed locally in Shropshire 

Thank you for stopping by,
Dee ~♥~

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Trying my patience ......

I am generous & tolerant by nature & have learnt to tolerate a pair of grey squirrels that have made themselves at home in my garden.

The garden is sheltered by hedges & shrubs which provides the cover needed for a large variety of garden birds. Our small fountain is used for drinking & often has bathing birds in it too & being close to the house, we can enjoy the scene.

Birds bathing in our fountain

 Every year, I 'force' hyacinths into bloom for Christmas colour & fragrance in the home - bulbs chosen weeks before to compliment our colours & then covered, brought into a dark cool spot till they throw out new growth then gradually bring them into the house & warmth to encourage flowering ...

  My house Hyacinths

My hyacinths

 The older bulbs are planted into the garden so they bloom naturally at the right time - providing welcome late Winter colour & the potted ones are tucked under the hedge over Summer to recover while they die back again.

  Pink blooms in my garden ....

I digress - when I went to bring the pots back in from their protected spots under the hedge & shrubs, I was mortified to find that the squirrels have helped themselves to most of my hyacinth bulbs - leaving me with a few nibbled ones in largely empty pots ....

Most of the shops have long since sold out of their hyacinth bulbs so I was resigned to having to buy some in but luckily I found a few creamy white bulbs at a farm shop chain - in the reduced bin so my colour scheme will be creamy white this year (instead of a gorgeous selection of pinks .... )

So the 12 sale bulbs have been potted up & placed in my dark but safe garage for now. They will certainly not bloom for the festive season ....

The head of the bulbs visible as per instructions on the packet ....

And the pair of greedy grey Squirrels ... well, they are still stashing nuts from the feeder all over the lawn, along with my spring bulbs that they are helping themselves to.

Squirrels at home

What suggestions do you have for dealing with the greedy grey creatures?

Thanks for stopping by, your comments are always welcome

Dee ~♥~

Thursday, 8 November 2012

I love to hate my Christmas Cactus

Do you have a flower that you have a love-hate relationship with?

Mine has to be the Christmas cactus that is horribly untidy & unruly or perhaps it is just mine that is so.

They were potted on by my mother-in-law & they just keep growing abundantly & now cover several pots about the house, looking untidy for much of the year, till the weather warms up in late Spring & I gladly take them outside & tuck them under a shrub for months on end ....

They are potted in terracotta pots so they fit in outside under the shrubs then sometime in Autumn when I am clearing the leaves & getting the garden ready for cooler weather, I remember them & bring them back inside & find pots of kind to hold them (& their water because terracotta is porous).

If you read a plant care website on Christmas Cacti, they give a long list of special instructions Care-for-a-Christmas-Cactus but mine seem to thrive on the neglect I inflict on them with no special care or attention ....

The shock of coming in from the cold - literally - seems to bring them to life in no time & they flower ...

This year has been no different except they have started to flower abundantly & early - a reminder that they really can be beautiful & so I sigh & am thankful for the colour when little else looks cheerful!

Perhaps they are prettier than I give them credit for, perhaps I should learn to love them a little more ....

Thank you for stopping by, I always love to read your comments & return the visit ...

Dee ~♥~