Saturday, 31 August 2013

On the cusp

Soon it will be September.  The weather is still rather warm here, and the evenings are not yet cool.  In the garden the robin is back making a racket after his summer quiet spell.  Unlike last year, every fruit is abundant and bursting with life. 

The brambles are fruiting early and unlike our one lonely apple on the tree last year, this year we have fifteen!

I'm not sure what these beautiful berries are, although I assumed they aren't edible just in case.

The large rose bush is still flowering madly after months of  activity.  I shall miss being able to bring in some blooms to put in the house.

Summer is getting past its glorious best, and everything in the garden looks a little overblown after all the exertion and growth.  Only the sedum looks like it is on the verge of something lovely.  The tomatoes are slowly ripening, we have had a much better crop this year and we have a number of courgettes ready which I think we will make into soup.

When summer gathers up her robes of glory, and like a dream of beauty glides away. 
 -  Sarah Helen Power Whitman

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Late summer vintage

I wonder if I'm the only person who can walk around a Vintage Fair and think most of the stock is too modern?  At a fair recently there were so many 1950s items there, and I kept on thinking that was a little modern but found it rather lovely at the same time.  Then we walked along a little and found tables with 1970s kitchenware that I remembered from my childhood and I wondered how my childhood days are now deemed to be 'vintage'!  I guess time moves on and it doesn't help that I'm not a fan of orange and brown plastic and yellow formica.

In the end, I only bought the one item, a 1920s Chocolate tin which I hope to use in my sewing area for buttons.  I'm also hoping to look through my Mum's button tin, which includes a lot of old buttons that belonged to my Nan.

Most of the items we buy for Hazel Cottage are the first half of the twentieth century, ending about the same time as the end of the Second World War and centred on the 1930s.

There is something so very beautiful to me about the 1920s, 30s and 40s pottery, something so homely about old baskets and hand made cushions and wing arm chairs.  


In our kitchen, our vintage items are used alongside the modern ones as they should be, not displayed in glass cases to look pretty.

To me, old leather suitcases, stone jars, old books, embroidered tablecloths, patterned rugs and ticking clocks just signify home.  Much as I like shabby chic (as long as its not 'aged' too much) and Cath Kidston in small doses, you cannot beat the beauty and design of the real original items that are not only better designs, but have been used and loved over the years. 

And, if those items are available in charity shops, eBay, jumble sales and car boot sales, then all the better.

Even our garden has given up some lovely antique items that were dropped by previous inhabitants of the house.  In addition to a vast array of broken up Victorian and early 20th century pottery, we have found buttons whilst digging.  I wonder what we will leave behind?

Friday, 16 August 2013

Taking stock....

Thanks to Hettie Brown for this idea which seems to be sweeping through blogland... August is probably an ideal time to take stock, all the summer madness is fading away and the glories of autumn are not yet upon us.  This morning I woke to a beautiful sky and the birds going crazy in the garden.

This week I am mostly...

Making :   The first batch of Marrow Pickle this weekend.  We use this recipe which is gorgeous!
Cooking :  Chocolate and Courgette cake - Hebegebe Cake in River Cottage Baking book.  Very moist and dense and doesn't taste of courgettes at all.
Drinking :  Copious tea with one sugar.  I will eventually get used to just the one.
Reading:   Katherine Swift's The Morville Hours.  A beautiful and poetic book.  If only I kept awake to read more of it.
Wanting:   Autumn to arrive soon.
Looking: At the bees and butterflies and birds every day in the garden
Playing:  More music than usual, trying to listen to CDs I haven't heard for a while
Wasting:  As little as possible and trying to live as simply as possible
Sewing:  Very little but always planning the next project.  Applique birds perhaps?
Wishing: For good health and happiness for all
Enjoying:  My new sewing/craft area and our new bathroom.
Waiting:  For the new series of the Great British Bake Off next week.  So excited!
Liking:  My new (old) cheese dish (see right)

Wondering:  If we will get enough rain.  Its been rather dry.
Loving:  Mary Wesley books,  I've recently read four in a row
Hoping: To make mixed fruit jam out of our harvest of raspberries and strawberries and redcurrants soon
Marvelling: That after ten years or more I still have lots of my family tree to look into.  It helps to have a problematic great grandmother with a fascinating story.
Needing: Some time off work to do nice things
Smelling: The lavender outside of our door
Wearing: Clothes that I'm utterly bored with.  What to do....
Following: Many lovely blogs - do look at the list
Noticing: That I haven't seen/heard any swifts for about a week, have they gone?
Knowing:  We can make our new bookshelf look far nicer than it is with a bit of work.
Thinking: I shall come back with something from a Vintage Fair I'm going to tomorrow.

Bookmarking: Some new web pages.  I need inspiration, please suggest anything that interests you. 
Opening: Presents.  It will soon be my birthday and I'm still a small child really and slightly excited
Giggling:  At a slightly poor James Stewart film called Pot O' Gold.  He was still wonderful of course.
Feeling:  Like taking stock and planning some lovely things to do.