Friday, 31 January 2014

Trending tartan

Do you love the timelessness of tartan?

I shared my gorgeous tartan win for the dining room late last year ...

While down visiting Snooks the Hatters, my heart leapt at the gorgeous tartan goods.

So much choice …

Traditional & modern plaids & tartans

I am very much inclined towards the purple, heather colour …

Traditional blue / brown colours add warmth & familiarity

That green / blue scarf - well, it is now at home with me to compliment a new coat

Tartan - traditional or modern, is right on trend: vibrant, colourful & always in fashion.

Are you trending any tartan? Which colour palette do you prefer?

Thanks for stopping by, always appreciate your comments
Dee ~♥~

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Tea & cookie time

It has been one of those cold, damp weeks again.

Snow flakes have wafted past me all day as I made my way between all my students & I was grateful for the Mum's making generous mugs of steaming hot coffee while we were working.

Once home, it was end of my working weeks paperwork time & being cold, I needed something to boost the spirits.

Cookies & tea? Nothing in the house so I rustled up a favourite recipe

Millie's cookies

125g softened butter
225g caster & brown sugar (or which ever soft sugar you have to hand)
1 egg
1 tsp Vanilla extract
225g self raising flour
200g of choc chips or cut up chocolate (white, milk, dark - whatever you like)

Preheat oven to 180C

Cream butter & sugars, add egg & vanilla, sift in flour & stir in chocolate chips.

Roll into 10-12 walnut sized balls or a long sausage & cut into rounds.

Place on baking parchment / greaseproof paper & bake for 7-10 min (depending on size)

Cool slightly & enjoy.

They really are quick to make & utterly delicious.

My paperwork really went well - tea & cookies in my indulgent monogrammed set - heaven!

What is your rainy day bake?

Thanks for stopping by,  hope your week is going well
Dee ~♥~

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Sticky toffee pudding time

Hello friends & followers ...

Do you find yourself finding leftover festive food bits in the cupboards still? I love dates & bought in some large, juicy medjool dates to use over Christmas but they were still lurking in the cupboard today so I thought it is time to use them up.

Instead of my usual date, banana & cranberry treats, I decided on  Nigella's sticky toffee pudding instead.

Easy Sticky Toffee Pudding by Nigella

for the cake

  • 100 grams dark brown muscovado sugar
  • 175 grams self-raising flour
  • 125 ml full fat milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 50 grams unsalted butter (melted)
  • 200 grams chopped dates

for the sauce

  • 200 grams dark brown muscovado sugar
  • approx. 25 grams unsalted butter (in little blobs)
  • 500 ml boiling water

It is quick & easy to make & I feel really pleased that those luscious dates will be used & enjoyed.

I confess that it is the first time I have made sticky toffee pudding; surprising as it is my favourite winter pudding.

I look forward to surprising the family with this treat which I know will be enjoyed as the temperature has dropped this week.

So friends - own up, do you buy in more than you need over the holidays & use it up?

Thanks for stopping by, your feedback is always welcome
Dee ~♥~

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

The sculpture park at Lake Vyrnwy, Wales

I shared the beautiful dam with you in the previous post but felt that since many of my bloggers  are artistic & crafty, I would share some of the lovely sculptures in the park below the dam wall.


The cupboard sculpture

Perfectly lovely even though we didn't do the whole park because the weather was turning damp ...

I love unexpected quirkiness like this & it is a perfect way to bring art & sculpture to visitors.

Hope you enjoyed them too,
Dee ~♥~

Sunday, 12 January 2014

The Victorian beauty of Lake Vyrnwy ....

Do you sometimes find yourself stopping & thinking 'WOW'?

Our local newspaper reported that Lake Vyrnwy in Mid Wales was releasing water over the spillway after the heavy rain we have had, so we headed out to the beautiful Welsh hills to see it for ourselves.

It was not my first visit there, but on a dull, mid-week day, I was hoping it would not be as busy as the previous time.

We were not disappointed - the recent rain had filled up the lake & there was a magnificent sight of white water flowing over the spillway ...

The dam was built in the 1880's by the Victorians out of grey Welsh stone & it fits perfectly into the surrounding countryside.

Instead of going for something that was purely functional, the Victorians built something that is so beautiful & detailed with its lovely stone turrets, a wide bridge with view points, beautiful arches & views.

We walked across the bridge then down to the bottom of the spillway to gaze up at the cascading water - a fantastic sight & sound with the arches & gushing water.

There is a beautiful wooden sculpture park at the base - a perfect place to appreciate the structure.

How lovely is this detail in stone?

The lovely detail which is over 100 years old ...

Like a ghost appearing through the trees, the grey solidness of the stone dam

Then naturally, I had to take photos of some of the fences on our walk ...

Ivy clad fence posts - beautifully aged & returning to nature

This gorgeous sheep posing behind a wire fence

The curved fence railings along the road ...

From the dam wall, you glimpse my favourite structure; it seems out of place in the Welsh countryside, it looks as if it belongs in the Bavarian hills or the fairy tale of Rapunsel ...

The stunning Gothic water straining tower.

Approximately 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) from the dam is the reservoir's straining tower. Standing only 30 metres (98 ft) from the shore, its purpose is to filter or strain out material in the water with a fine metal mesh, before the water flows along the aqueduct to Liverpool. Its architecture represents Gothic revival, built at the same time as the dam. The tower as a whole is 63 metres (207 ft) tall, 15 metres (49 ft) of which is underwater. The other 48 metres (157 ft) is above water, and is topped with a pointed copper-clad roof, which makes it look light green.

The victorians could have built a very boring tower to filter the water before it is sent on its way to Liverpool but, instead they created this thing of beauty to do a functional job.

The copper clad roof is a beautiful green colour that just shimmers in the light & it is easily one of my favourite structures ...

I am in awe of the craftmanship at Lake Vyrnwy; a functional dam & tower that have stood the test of time & that we still admire today. That surely is a reflection on that time.

Do you have a favourite structure or place that has the WOW factor?

Thanks for stopping by, always pleased to have your company,
Dee ~♥~

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Start as you mean to carry on ...

I 'might' have mentioned that I have a passion for taking photos - I hesitate to call myself a photographer because I think of photographers as the iconic Steve McCurry with his unforgettable Afghan Girl image.

When I visited Lord Lichfield's home at Shugborough & saw his photographs & cameras,  I knew that was the work of a photographer, a professional person, an artist.

In my mind, photographers  are people who elevate photography to an amazing level - who create  something quite unforgettable, the iconic images that we can't forget!

Like millions of others, I share my photos on my flickr photo stream,  always looking at the stats at night to see which images were viewed, appreciating the comments people have taken the trouble to leave & then I always return the visits to my contacts - garnering inspiration from their images.

It is widely accepted that most people's flickr stream is only viewed by themselves & a sometimes they get lucky & get lots of hits ...

Like a blog, it is hard work to get a community of contacts out there who will stop by regularly & offer advice & support.

Flickr explore is the showcase of photos - randomly selected best photos that are 'explored' for the day out of the hundreds of thousands that are added to flickr.

I have had several such moments when you login & see your stats are really high, then checking explore & finding your photo there ...

Today was such a day - my HFF - Happy Fence Friday  made 10 000 amazing hits today & I am over the moon that so many viewed it, over 100 people favourited it & many took the time to leave comments - a very good feeling.

What is lovely for me is that the photo was taken with a camera I have just got  - a Canon 5D Mk11, with a 135 prime (fixed lens) that I have not really used.

I took the photo while out at Lake Vyrnwy in Wales & I unashamedly love fences so I am always on the look out for an interesting fence to photograph for the Fenced Friday groups. It sounds easy but it really is not so I take it as a challenge & am pleased when it works out well ....

My flickr photostream now has in excess of an amazing 542 000 views - humbling to think that my photos are so widely viewed ...

My motivation to work constantly at my photos are because this year, I have been asked to take the wedding photos of the Tipsy Tart's daughters wedding. I  don't just want to take the photos - I want them to be special, to be the best they can be so I have to focus & get it right ...

That is my challenge so I am starting my photography as I mean to carry on this year ...

What is your challenge this year? How are you going to meet it?

Thanks for stopping by, your comments are always a joy to read,
Dee ~

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Making a fabulous new headboard ...

Hello my friends & followers

I trust 2014 has started well for you all. Apologies for my absence but it has been a very busy start to the year so I have neglected my blog - just as well I did not make resolutions ....

Youngest daughter Stacy has been home from uni & in between her studies, she has been working on her photography blog - pop over & have a look.

Her en-suite accommodation is very comfortable in residences but she said it would be so much better if the beds had a headboard to rest up against whilst doing all the reading required.

So A Wondering Star, Stacy & I put our heads together & came up with a project to make one.

We bought an MDF board the right size for her three quarter bed & some thick 2 inch firm foam.

We couldn't get the exact size foam so we cut & glued two pieces. It is easy enough to cut with a Stanley / craft knife

T-square, sharpie to mark it out & the knife

The foam being glued to the board to stop it moving about - easy to do

Stock up on glue sticks as it uses a lot but is worth the effort


 The foam is all glued & in place

We stapled some interlining soft fabric over the foam to give it a smooth finish

Sewing time - we decided to make a slip over cover for the headboard so the cover can be pulled off for washing or changed when a new colour scheme is needed.

After much browsing, Stacy decided to use a soft grey fleece we already have at home.

Cue Andy to do the batons on the back - made with a 180cm plank of wood, cut in half & positioned 55cm from the floor to the bottom of the headboard (we determined the measurement by measuring the headboard in the guest bedroom)

The grey slip cover was pulled over & off to university with it.

Perfect match with new Ikea Alvine Kvist bedding, a grey throw & some battery operated LED lights

It seems to meet the grade by being functional, stylish & personal

Perfect ....
  We are all very pleased with our group project - it turned out better than expected seen as it was our first attempt at one.

Do you roll up the sleeves & do projects at home? What is on your list?

Thanks for stopping by, I always appreciate the comments & time you take to browse
Dee ~♥~