Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Christmas Wreath

This afternoon, I have been out to High Tor, Matlock and wandering between the bare trees I gathered together a range of branches, holly, evergreen leaves and pine cones. My plan is to make a Christmas Wreath to hang on the front door. I used a wire wreath frame which I purchased for 90p from a Victorian Christmas Market in Hall Leys Park, Matlock last weekend. 

From my experience as a TA for students studying floristry, I have learnt a few skills in this area which I applied today. Firstly, I arranged the materials I was using and began covering the frame with a base of bare branches threading in and out of the frame....

I prepared the evergreen branches using a set of garden pruners. Leaving a stalk bare allows for easy threading.

I began to cover the whole of the branches, turning the wreath as I did to ensure even coverage.

Once covered, I gave the wreath a hard shake to ensure that there were no loose areas.

I layered loosely ontop of the frame the materials I had left to form a plan of my design. I had a piece of bright green moss I wanted to use and pinned this in place by unfolding paperclips to form basic floristry pins. You can use the real thing, it is easier to twist the ends together, but the paperclips worked fine. 

I pinned the moss in the centre and at either ends...

As I pushed the pin through, I twisted the ends together and folded flat, so as not to scratch the door it hangs on.

Here it is so far...

And the final thing with the holly, berries and pine cones...

I love the look on the front door! Mmmm, Christmassss!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Crafty Brooch

I wanted to make a gift from items I had around the house and discovered this cute brooch design.

I used a small amount of fabric, some cotton and needle, pins, ribbon, safety pin and a button. 

Using some vintage fabric I had left over from some curtains, I drew out two circles, one the size of a cereal bowl, the other a mug.

I cut out the two rounds and Delia stepped in to help!


One at a time, I folded over and pinned the edge of the circle and tack-stitched making big stitches. 

Once right round, I pulled the thread tight and knotted.

 Then I flattened it down...

to make the first rosette...

I did the same with the smaller circle, although this time I did it without pins, tack-stitched an edge...

and pulled it tight....

I flattened the second rosette and stitched the two together, along with a button in the centre. 

I needed some ribbon for the leaves, but all I had was elastic, so I folded into two and stitched...

along with stitching a safety pin to fit onto a jumper.

Here is the end result, and I made a special card too. I hope she'll like her personalised items. 

When I got home from a day out, I decided to have another go, this time using smaller circles, now I understand how it comes together...

A simple, quick and elegant gift!

Monday, 12 November 2012

Narrow boat for sale

Here is The Dove of Belgrade, which has been gradually renovated throughout and is pretty much ready to be snapped up by a buyer to move on and cruise away (or maybe we will just keep her!!). The interior is almost complete and I am finishing off touching up the exterior.

She is 65foot of British Steel made by Hancock and Lane in 1976 with a Cruiser Stern and easy access to a Lister 3 cylinder Diesel Engine (Air Cooled). She has distinctive Hancock and Lane curves and a canoe bow and with plenty of windows is spacious and bright. We have been the proud owners for the past 4 years and sadly due to ill health we are looking to sell her on. She makes an ideal liveaboard for a couple looking for the good life. She is two berth with the room for a comfortable guest. 

Starting at the stern. Coming in the from the cruiser stern are steps into the galley with a view right through the boat to the delightful multi-fuel stove in the lounge. 

There is a gas cooker and oven/grill, a 12volt fridge and sink with drainer.  

There is plenty of surface space and storage space in the galley. The rug can be lifted and cleaned and the conker brown hardwood floor is easy to mop

In the galley is a cupboard with the fuse box and battery level indicator. Also, the galley has a Morse gas hot water boiler and the water pump is in easy reach, under the sink.

Fresh herbs and dry herbs by the galley are ready to be cooked up into a fantastic meal!

A classic canal boat stool for relaxing and soaking up the good life!

Through the door is the bathroom with pump out toilet, vinyl flooring, storage shelving, mirrored wall providing full length view, wash basin and behind a shower curtain is a powerful shower and shower tray.

From the bathroom is the beginning of the lounge with a beautiful a pine wood storage cupboard with space below seating area with the possibility to convert to dining area in the future.

The lounge is open plan. It is light whilst being cosy and with a modular sofa can be adapted to suit any occasion. The modular sofa can also be used as a guest bed. The curtains were handmade by my mother and I, and keep out any drafts. There is a long solid wood shelving unit and steps to the side hatch.

On either side of the boat are steel hatches which are covered on the inside by handmade curtains. 

The centre piece in the lounge is the Morso Squirrel Multi-fuel stove which provides enough heat for the whole boat.

There is a separate room behind the stove wall which had a small hand basin with hand pump and porta-potti. This space has the possibility to be used in a range of ways, small office space, walk in wardrobe, storage space etc.

Then we have the bedroom with a full size double bed and doors leading to the bow where the anchor and water hose are kept.

There is 12volt electricity supply provided by two 6 volt traction batteries as well as a 300volt inverter to provide a supply of 240volts. There is a sureline connection for 240volts if mooring or to use with a generator. The water tank is 100litres housed in the bow. 

She is such a beautiful boat, remarked by all who visit her and I am so sad to let her go. But she needs to be lived on and cruised as her makers intended and I am happy to sell her for her to have another life with someone else.

Feel free to contact me if you are interested.

Bungalow home in the Dales

Welcome back followers and hello new readers! Over the past four months we have relocated to the Derbyshire Dales for some time to rest and indulge in homely comforts. In our character bungalow we have all the delights of central heating, bathing and a super quick gas fire! Our belongings from the boat have surprisingly filled the place along with a few new (rather Sue Ryder charity shop buys) additions, including a lovely dinning room table and chairs. 

In our green environment, we have been surrounded by climbing ivy and stone, with artful dry-stone walling surrounding the area.

I have been spending some time with my fingers sunk into the earth, weeding in the front garden and planting garlic and onion sets ready for summer. I have even picked up some bargin fruit bushes and planted these in the back.

 This is our house on the hill, in 'middle England'.

We are perfectly positioned for a view down into the valley.

I have been on a few walks around this area and discovered that the hill above our home looks out from an abundance of ferns toward the hills of the Peak District.

And through the woods across the way, I came across this love nest...

in between the stones mosses and grasses are growing happily. 

From the hill behind, looms Riber Castle, at one time a Zoo, until the creatures were freed, it is now undergoing conversion to flats. 

And at the bottom of the hill is the fresh flowing River Derwent.

Commuting to Nottingham has it's delights and trials. The train in the morning winds through elegant countryside through to Derby and on towards Nottingham. It was taking me four hours a day commuting there and back which was tiresome, however with a new set of wheels from the lovely folks in Falkirk, we are a 'go-go', there and back in 3 hours.

One delight to having our homely house is that with a second bedroom we have had lots of guests staying, which was not a possibility on our floating home. During this time, we have, with the help of mother bird and brotherly love, been renovating The Dove of Belgrade to be ready to be sold. See my next post for details of this. 

Love, Amanda