Sunday, 21 June 2015

The Summer Solstice day …

Hi all

I shared my ideas ahead of the Summer Solstice & thought I would show the reality …

I am an early riser & this was our sunrise around 4:30 am - clouds hovering on the horizon

I slipped in to the garden early to sip my tea & enjoy the birds & other wild life visiting - a dawn chorus from the neighbours rooftop ….

A blue tit choosing his breakfast from our selection

This regular visitor just likes the nuts ….

Our David Austin house rose is in full bloom …

Good weather so I opened the garden summer house

I love this space & look forward to using it more with the warmer weather …

Lots of jobs to do first …

I had an idea to do a wreath or garland to celebrate growing things so I took my secateurs & went in search of some garden greens. Green willow branches are useful for the frame shape with various bits ready to add to it …

The fresh garden tribute with rosemary finishing it off on the bottom. Lots of scents fill the air ...

Then mindful of my pledges to make this a healthy eating day - my late lunch was a favourite of thin steak, dry pan fried with just herbs, some steamed vegetables,  beetroot & an avocado that needed eating up before it was too soft. (407 Kcal if you are counting …. )

A jug of lemon & lime sparkling water ready then time to light a lantern (too windy for a candle today) and just enjoy eating outdoors.

Even the simplest food just tastes better outdoors ….

More things to catch up on & sticking with my fruit pledge, I opted for sliced melon - perfectly refreshing while browsing a vintage 1881 book.

I always manage to find interesting snippets in that old book

The gorgeous vintage covers & a feather from the lawn used as a bookmark …

A stray daffodil in the ceramic pots on the table … very pretty

A lovely l-o-n-g day spent mainly outdoors in my garden - celebrating the changing season.

The sun is setting on this Summer Solstice - I hope yours has been good too.

Thanks for stopping by,
Dee ~♥~

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Summer Solstice is here again …

Time marches on & the Summer Solstice is almost upon us again.

I love the rhythm of the seasons, watching how things change & develop in my environment. It gives a timelessness to life.  The Summer Solstice marks the midpoint & the date varies between the 20-22 June - this year it falls on the 21st.

On this day, the sun is always visible for longer in the sky as it tracks from north of east to north of west across our skies - our longest day of the year!  Today has been rather wet & sunless so hopefully that will clear for the solstice day …

It was suggested by a student that it is a good idea to make a green flower wreath from the garden - that sounds like fun & I might very well do it …

It is a good time to light the chimnea in the garden,  burn some candles in lanterns & just enjoy the primitive connection we have to fire. I like to add herbs from the garden to the fire to fragrance the air.

I have a personal tradition of writing a wish or regret I want to banish on a paper then burning it in the fire  - I think that will be done again.

I also like to celebrate by eating wholesome,  natural food outdoors in the fresh air surrounded by the  green garden with birds hopping about - fruit kebabs are a wonderful way to celebrate food.

This is one of my daughters A wondering Star's fruit drinks - that is what is needed!

Tonight we had a beautiful sunset , I hope our Solstice sunrise will be as lovely.

Do you observe the changing seasons? Will you be looking forward to the longer days that await us (for a while only)?

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment,
Dee ~♥~

The picture ledge is in place …

Phew - at last,  some time was found to hang up the completed picture ledge in the living room. It was delayed because  I needed special raw plugs to support heavier things & then the drill was not charged.

I am not a natural diy re electric tools so the planning took a little longer to mark the points on the wall, drill the holes (finding the right drill bits in the garage took time too …. ) then finally hanging it on the wall …

I used a spirit level to make sure the top shelf was level but the bottom shelf is not originally completely straight but I chose to line up with the top shelf …

At last - a space to just pop on interesting art, framed maps or anything that catches my eye. I love being 'random' by rotating the interesting things we have so that I get the opportunity to enjoy them
more often.

I am funny about art - I love things that mean things to me - the 3 top pictures are from South Africa, the centre one is a vintage one (the other hangs above the TV) and the bottom ones are all family vintage ones - the centre one on the bottom is of the place where my grandfather was born in South Africa more than a 100 years ago.

At the same time, I moved some pictures around on the picture ledge in our entrance hall - a change around & I stop & look at the changed paintings on my way in & out of the house - that is how art should be - things you enjoy looking at!

How do you display your pictures, art & images at home? Share your inspirations please …

Dee ~♥~

Friday, 19 June 2015

A picture ledge is needed

Hi everyone

I know, it has been ages since I have posted something other than travel but I have been working on a project that is nearing completion in between all the Summer jobs needing doing too ….

As my regular readers know,  I like to change things regularly & that includes displaying art, photos & interesting things we have.

A couple of years ago, we put some Ikea picture ledges up in our entrance way to display some of our photos & images.  The shelves suit the space between the doors from the front of the house & the inner hallway …

Some are vintage framed images painted by my late father in law more than 70 years ago, found in his attic & framed as primitive art for hubby.

The little black frame shows the rural place where my grandfather was born more than 100 years ago - picture shelves of memories …

A large vintage African painting is hung at the top as it fits in perfectly & looks right at home.

Various photos adorn this shelf where they are changed regularly …

I wanted something similar for our living room but the modern Ikea shelves are too modern for the room so another plan was needed.

Luckily, I spotted this sideboard top from a local seller I have bought interesting bits from - could it be perfect for what I need?

However, having just had the whole living room repainted in Natural Calico (the Marsala red is now gone) I felt that the dark shelves would be too imposing on the light wall.  The unit was also too tall so I marked it & cut it to just below the second shelf. It was hard work sawing through that as the wood is solid, hardwood oak!

I glued & nailed a small edge to each shelf front to support pictures displayed so that they would stay in place on the shelves. I used very tiny tacking nails on the supports. The supports would be part of the shelf once painted.

It is now ready to be taken outdoors for painting, the front supports visible to stop art sliding off …

The top fretwork had some damage but I had a plan -I used a jigsaw to make both sections look the same -

The shelves are shown with the first coat of Annie Sloan's Old White Chalk Paint

Sanding the cut edges smooth before another coat of paint is applied.

Waxing time for the paintwork - Annie Sloan's clear wax with some dark wax in the details.

The more compact size can be seen & the changes to the fret work seem natural, as if it has always been so. I think it looks very good. The supports on the front look as if they have always been there rather than a modern addition.

It is now ready for the wall  but that will be for another day …. I look forward to being able to display various art & photos in the living room without having to do nails or fixtures each time.

How do you display your art at home?  Do you change your mind or are there favourites that grace your wall all the time? Please tell all …

Thanks for stopping by & taking the time to leave a comment. The competed picture rail is bogged in this post .... 

Dee ~♥~

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Sunny weather light lunch

At last - we have had a glimpse of Summer, just in time for 21st June which will be the midpoint of the year, our longest day, the Summer solstice.

I got in mid afternoon from the last of my students & felt like I needed something healthy but light.

Luckily I found some lovely wild salmon fillets in the freezer - perfect!

They were quickly defrosted then pan fried with no oil or butter - skin side down. The top was dusted with fresh herbs then they were turned over once the skin had browned (I love the crunchiness of the skin …. )

A simple handful of organic baby spinach & some cut cucumber & my light lunch was ready to be eaten in the conservatory, overlooking our lush garden, while updating my diary for the week.

A glass of sparkling water with a slice of lemon was perfect …

Lunch was 225 calories only - very tasty, filling & healthy ….

What is your favourite quick & healthy lunch? Inspire me please :)
Dee ~♥~

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Oiling the garden furniture

Some Summer jobs need warm bright sunshine to complete them & that has been in short supply this year so far.

Our wooden garden furniture stays outdoors over Winter & when I washed it down I thought - this is looking shabby so I duly bought some outdoor furniture oil for it.  As much as I love painted furniture, I rather like the rich colour of the garden furniture so have resisted changing it.

All but one slat done on the first bench. I like the rich colour of the tinted oil.

Working in the sunshine on our patio - two benches, a stray chair & the long IKEA garden table that has been in our conservatory until we acquired a mahogany set from an aged relative ….

The furniture looks much brighter now. It still needs turning over & the undersides need oiling but that will have to wait for another sunny hot day ….

All that is needed now are for the parasols & some bright cushions to come out so the warmer weather can be enjoyed!

Which jobs are on your 'getting ready for Summer' list? Do you favour traditional garden furniture? Tell all ….

Thanks for stopping by & taking time to read & leave a comment
Dee ~♥~

Friday, 12 June 2015

A family chair is transformed

Hi all
Do you have a list of projects that you  are working on? I always seem to have a list of sorts that need doing or changing?

Hubby was recently gifted his Dad's Dorset captains chair which had been a favourite of his late Dad. We all have such things which come from a family home, & while having sentimental value, they don't necessarily fit in with what we already have.

Knowing that hubby is fond of the chair, we decided to have it recovered for him as the padding / support was past its best & to be frank - orange velour is not a favourite colour.

We choose a local upholsterer to do the work & hubby duly thumbed through lots of fabric books before choosing the fabric for his chair.

The upholsterer repadded the seat, fixed the supports & polished the wood again. I was away visiting family so he posted a before & after for me on Facebook

This is the finished chair still at the upholsters but looking so very smart

It now fits in with our home & it looks good & is once again very comfortable too.

I am very happy with the chair & have to say - hubby's choice of fabric was very good - classic, classy & timeless. I just know that the chair will be used & enjoyed for years to come.

How have you incorporated family items in to your home?  Please share your stories …
Dee ~♥~

Thursday, 11 June 2015

The Ganges at Varanasi …

I hope you have not tired of my Indian adventure …

No trip to India would be complete without a visit to the Ganges & the life around it.  We decided to stay in a small family run hotel in Varanasi right on the Ganges, rather than a chain hotel further up that needed transfers to get to the river. If you visit the Ganges, you want to be right there to experience the atmosphere & walk it at various times of the day.

We flew to Varanasi, were met & driven the hour to the Ganges then waited while our Hotel despatched their boat & boatman for the transfer.  Ms M & I had decided to travel light for our 3 week trip because we knew we would be on the move a lot & were not inclined to be burdened by heavy luggage.

Our luggage consisted of only a small, cabin sized bag & a shoulder Cath Kidson bag with additionals as well as a handbag.  We had matching luggage straps so we could find our bags easily. My other bag is the lighter floral one, Ms M's the dark blue one ….

Arriving at our Hotel - The Jukaso Ganges Heritage Hotel on the Ganges … perfectly situated. Ms M & I shared the room at the top under the tower with beautiful views over the ganges & a wide open courtyard by the 3 arches to sit & write our journal & sip iced fresh lemon & lime drinks brought down from the little restaurant above our room - how perfect is that?

An evening boat trip to see a spectacular evening ceremony on the ghat led by several religious leaders and a religious highlight for pilgrims who regard Varanasi as a very sacred place.

This is the religious significance of Varanasi 
It is the holiest of the seven sacred cities (Sapta Puri) in Hinduism and Jainism, and played an important role in the development of Buddhism. Some Hindus believe that death at Varanasi brings salvation.[4] It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Varanasi is also known as the favourite city of the Hindu deity Lord Shiva . It has been mentioned in the Rigveda that this city in older times was known as Kashi .

Evening on the Ganges with boats lined up to watch the ceremony on the shore.

The view from the hotel patio on to the Ganges waking up …

Boats tied up on the steps outside the hotel

Our hotel patio & inner courtyard

The lovely arches which frame the Ganges from the patio

Another view from the patio with an early morning breeze & the sounds of people making their way along the river

The Ghats - steps - near the hotel with people bathing in the Ganges …

A light lunch of a toasted sandwich at the little restaurant at the top of our hotel with lovely views over the Ganges …

The temperatures were high even for March ..

Stunning coloured garlands are made in the streets & offered to pilgrims

You just have to love these colours ….

The communities living in Varanasi do not shy away from colour …

I loved all the beautiful doors we found on our trip through the residential side up higher in Varanasi - have a look at these beautiful doors  on this blog post ….

After 3 days there, we departed the way we had arrived - by boat down the Ganges to a point where our vehicle was waiting for us.  The Hotel security escorting us on our trip & graciously helping with our bags. We were impressed with the standard of customer service found all over India - people are unfailingly polite, well mannered & well spoken - an example we could follow in the West …

Passengers waiting at the pier for a boat …

Varanasi is first & foremost a sacred religious place. Many elderly come to Varanasi when ill to die, be cremated at pyres alongside the river then have their ashes scattered in the River. It is a pilgrimage on par with those to Jerusalem, The Haj & other sacred trips & boats with pilgrims are a regular sight along the river … as a tourist, we were mindful of what it means to pilgrims to be here so we were respectful of taking photos & of people on boats passing us - for most, it was their trip of a life time ….

Even though the Jukaso Ganges Heritage Hotel was a smaller one with none of the plush facilities of the large chains, it is perfectly situated for walking & taking in life on the Ganges & we had a comfortable stay there.

I hope you have enjoyed our Ganges stay too ….
Dee ~♥~