I’ve just realised that almost exactly 10 years ago the lovely Pattie Barron who was and still is the Gardening editor came with photographer Marianne Majerus to take photos of my house and garden.
They wanted a colourful centre spread to coincide with Chelsea Flower Show, May 2004.
We’d bought the house the house in a completely derelict state two years earlier and lived in it with no kitchen or heating or anything much.
But it was Victorian with a big garden that hadn’t been touched for 40 years and I loved it.
We renovated it ourselves gradually uncovering some lovely original panelling. I asked the people who bought our old house if we could have the kitchen units etc back when they replaced them! As I knew that unfortunately they were going to modernise. We’d renovated that house too. So one Saturday morning year after we’d moved here, they phoned and said that they were about to put kitchen in a skip so we literally raced round and got it and had it fitted.
It’s just IKEA cupboards, an old sink and a plywood work surface that I’d painted but I was so pleased to have them back and they’re still going strong today and still looking ok for their age as they were in https://nickygrace.co.uk/category/my-home-featured-in-selina-lakes-new-book/ It’s all pretty much still the same apart from the room with the blue walls which we call The Middle Room which I used as a shop before I got my proper shop.I’ve now turned that into a little B&B with it’s own ensuite. The ensuite bathroom was actually the original kitchen when the house was built. There’s a lot of history in this house which was built in 1865.https://nickygrace.co.uk/category/boutique-guest-room-on-airbnb/
Every year at the middle of May, my garden turns blue.
The Solanum which I planted about 5 years ago is very happy and has grown over the swing hammock so we can’t sit on it yet ! I’m a very lazy gardener and shouldn’t have let that happen but I don’t mind.
There are lots and lots of bluebells which have now spread and are growing against the ugly old wall that I painted in blue emulsion when we moved here.
The Ceanothus which was a tiny little thing is now 7 feet tall
and the Wisteria is apparently over 100 years old and is now on borrowed time as it relies on a very tall, brittle, dead plum tree for support.
A friend once gave me a very small old enamel bath that she no longer wanted. She said it was from an old ship. I put it behind the back door and planted a little lilac shrub in it which has got huge and smells divine in the morning sun.
The forget me knots spread more and more every year and I love them so much.
I’ve been cutting bits off very few days to have inside and they last surprisingly long as cut flowers.
It all flowers together for about 3 weeks and it’s a very special time in my garden.
It inspired me to make blue and purple floral garlands which I’ve put in my etsy shop.
I can’t quite let go of Easter…..
I love it so much……
The colours, the Spring flowers, nesting birds…..
lighter evenings, chocolate bunnies……..
I love it more and more every year.
I bought them from Carluccio’s a few weeks ago and hid them away from my scavenging children :)
I put them in the green bowl I got from the charity shop last week and then got a bit carried away making bluebell hats.
I put the bits of spare flowers in my little blue spotty enamel cup.
And then put the eggs on on the Victoria sponge I made for pudding yesterday. I’m obsessed with those eggs. Xxx
I’ve been making pin cushions out of damaged, vintage embroidered tablecloths.
The embroidery was done in the Forties and Fifties and I only recently realised the pattern was already printed onto the linen so in that sense it was easy as they had a pattern to sew on.
You can tell how good the person was at embroidery partly because sometimes they didn’t cover the lines properly so you can see bits of the printing which should have been covered.
The real art though is in the colours. I’ve been collecting vintage table cloths for 20 years and so often I’ll see one which has been expertly made yet the colours aren’t very inspiring and I always think what a shame to have worked so hard and spent so many hours making it yet the result isn’t too enchanting. That’s unfortunately the case with most of them which is why when I find ones like these it’s like finding gold dust.
I wonder about the ladies who made them. Were they young, middle aged, elderly ? How did they even have time to embroider tablecloths when they had so much else to do, cooking from scratch, hand washing, looking after their families etc without all the mod cons we have.
Saying that though, they didn’t have televisions and if I didn’t watch so much TV I could probably embroider at least a couple of large table cloths every week :) I’m glad they did it though so I don’t have to.
So here they are all together. I’ve also added some vintage fabric flowers to make them even more colourful and scrumptious.
And here they are all dressed for Easter.
I think a pin cushion should be beautiful because it’ll be next to you while you sew year after year. Mine is one of the very first things I made and I still love it.
I was very proud and stunned to see that a photo taken in my house (for Selina Lake’s book Pretty Pastel Style) was used for the front cover of Homemaker Magazine in January.
Selina put David Austin roses into a couple of my drinking glasses and put them on the shelf in my hall.
The lovely ribe (current) plant that I bought a few years ago is flourishing and flowering in the front garden at the moment. I cut a bit of it to bring inside and when I sniffed it it actually smelled of Ribena ! Imagine my surprise ( remember the letters page in viz ?) anyway, that must be why it’s called Ribena ! Fancy that.
this is a very random blog post I know…….partly because when I tried to do it a few days ago it didn’t work so maybe I’ll mess it up this time too and it’ll be another failed post and partly it’s because Peaches Geldof died yesterday and although I didn’t know her or anything much about her I’m sort of reeling with shock like most other people. I’m subconsciously thinking about her all the time. It’s unbelievably really, and tragic.
I love orange roses and these were in the Flower shop at John Lewis the other day. If this post works then I shall feel triumphant and might do another one tomorrow because I need to practice. For now though I’m feeling so sad for the Geldof family and all their friends and of course her boys. Xxx