Photographing your creativity……..

Lots of us enjoy creating things, whether it’s crafts, cooking, gardenening or DIY and once the creation has happened it is nice to be able to take photographs whether to keep for prosteritory or to upload to social media or in fact to upload to a website to sell.




Taking photographs of the creation is often what people find tricky to do, to catch the detail, to try to incorporate some of the story of where the creation has come from and to show the creation in its true light.

It is often good to take pictures whilst you are creating, to show how you are making your product. Take pictures of the materials you are using, the methods and techniques you have  included in the process, all of which builds the story behind the product.

Don’t however be tempted to just snap the picture as it sits on you knee, pay some attention to the surroundings, spend a little time to arrange the work on a neutral background with no distracting elements that may draw attention from your work. Little touches like flower heads or pieces of beautiful lace will help to enhance the picture.

Once completed take time to arrange the items, again paying much attention to creating a neutral background, here I have used a piece of pure linen which I have crushed to add some texture. I have ribbon and lace, items I have been using lately along with the wool and needles used to create the item. I have also snipped some flower heads from the garden to dress the picture.

Happy crafting!

Renovation – crafting project, dining room chairs

We like to create unique pieces of furniture from everyday items. So when the opportunity came to renovate our dining chairs, we wanted to do something different.

We have some very comfy cream leather dining chairs which when we bought them, looked perfect with our light oak dining table. When we moved house and the large dining table no longer fitted or matched with our gloss white and black granite kitchen we were in a dilemma as to what to do with the chairs.

We had bought a gloss black dining table from Next but the cost of 8 chairs to go with it was another £1000! We decided on a temporary solution of some black stretch covers which we imported from America and they looked fine for the time being.

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Last year, having seen Pinterest articles about painting leather with Annie Sloane paint, we thought, why not give it a go. We started with just one and used that for a good 6months before committing, what would happen with the heavy traffic of Christmas or when boys with jeans squirmed on them?

 

Perfect, the one test chair lived up to the demands so we went ahead with the rest and painted several coats of AS Pure, it went on perfectly covering the cream leather with ease. We also painted the light oak legs with AS Paris Grey……they looked and matched beautifully.
Our last flourish was to add our own stamp on the chairs with a little bit of stencilling. We brought a couple of stencils from Hobbycraft so we could choose and customise our own design.

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Armed with a stiff brush, a ceramic tile and the AS paint in Paris Grey,

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we found the centre line of the chair and stencilled the design evenly on each chair.

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We combined designs from three different stencils to give the chairs their own unique look.

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The stencilling didn’t take very long at all, and I am very pleased with what we’ve achieved, a French vintage look.

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Great days out – Nuffield Place in Berkshire

See the bluebells in all their glory RIGHT NOW in the bluebells woods in Nuffield Place.

Knowing that it is bluebell season we were determined to have a day out to see them, trawling through the NT website to look for recommended venues, we see delighted that Nuffield Place was suggested and not very far from where we live.

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Last Sunday was a typical spring day, bright and sunny but very cold when the sun went in, so undetered we wrapped up warm and off we went. We have been before but last time it was at the end of the summer so we were hoping to see something different.

As it was sunny we thought we do the grounds first, so we walked through the gardens and into the small woodland beyond.

The sight of the bluebells was stunning as we seem to have picked the best moment with all the bluebells in flower and none of them had gone over yet. Further on slightly we could see the woodland beyond the fence which was even more delightful filled with bluebells as far as you can see.

It was such a treat to see as you always know that with a couple of weeks all this will be gone.

Back towards the house and the gardens were starting to bloom with just a few plants taking centre stage.

We decided to look around the house especially as it was getting a little chilly. The house itself is a fairly modest house (if quite grand) but does retain its 1950’s/1960’s charm. Its vintage pieces are such a draw as it is one of my favourite styles.

I always look at beautifully laid out tables with their cake stands and lace table cloths to imagine the bygone lifestyle.

The house was home to William Morris and his wife, he was famous for starting Morris Garages MG cars, which went on to create the iconic MG range as well as the Morris Minor, the Wolsey and other cars which are truly classic today. Therefore the house does have quite a masculine feel to it. One highlight is the cupboard in his bedroom which has a vice, woodworking kit and many bits where he could ‘tinker’ at night when he couldn’t sleep.

Other items on display include his and her robes as he was a peer of the realm

and delightful vintage bits I remember my grandparents having

It was a lovely day out, a tribute to one of the greats of the car manufacturing industry….well worth a visit.

Best wishes

Sarah x

The Spring Garden – 10 must have plants for spring colour

So Spring is officially here, getting home from work to the light and warm makes everyone feel great and there is nothing better than sitting out in the garden with your cup of tea to just enjoy the colour that is starting to emerge at this time of year.

I have created a few gardens over the years and always to seek to add certain plants which I know are fairly low maintenance but will give the earliest colour.

My 5 recommended shrubs which give colour at this time of year would have to be;

  1. Photinia – this is a woody shrub which is evergreen, so will remain green all year round, but the new leaves when they emerge are this lovely bright red. I tend to leave this to its own devices generally although I do give it a good prune around August time and again in October else it would grow huge.Photinia
    2. Ceanothus – This is another woody evergreen shrub, but with gorgeous blue flowers which gets brighter as the weeks pass. You can buy slower or faster growing varieties but either way produce this lovely blue colour.ceanothus
  2. Forsythia – This time a yellow flower which is formed before the leaves emerge. The plant loses its leaves over winter so the bright yellow colour is the first sign of growth on this plant. Its a very easy plant to multiply, just cut a branch off and plant in in the ground alongside and it will form a whole new shrub which can then be planted.forsythia
  3. Ribes – A fantastic pink flower on another woody shrub. Its deciduous plant and again the pink flower appears before this years leaf growth.                                                                                 ribes
  4. Kerria Japonica – A bright yellow flower with heads that look like pompoms. This is a very pretty plant which is deciduous and again the flowers emerge before the leaves. Another easy plant to propagate, just cut a branch off and plant alongside and it will soon grow to create a whole new plant.                                                                                kerria Japonica

My 5 recommended flowers to give colour at this time of year are;

  1. Daffoldils – You can’t fail to love the earliest yellow blooms that pop up year after year. Pop in some bulbs one year and as long as you don’t disturb them they will grow year after year.                                                                                                                                          Daffodil
  2. Tulips – Similarly with tulips, once the bulbs have been planted they’ll keep growing every year with so many lovely colours to choose from, you’ll be spoilt for choice.                                                                                                                                              tulips
  3. Primrose – you can pick primroses up for any garden centre or flower shop so cheaply at this time of the year, but the key to these coming back year after year is that they love the shade.                                                                                                                          
  4. Forget-me-not – These lovely delicate flowers are quite weed-like really they pop up suddenly and then spread everywhere. I let them flower with their beautiful blue colour and once they start getting a bit mildewy, I pull most of them up. This makes sure they don’t take over the entire area but still give lovely colour at this time of the year.                                                                                                                                         forgetmenot
  5. Bluebells and Fritilery – Easy to grow bulbs which if undisturbed will pop up every year, adding extra heads each year. The key to any bulbs is they don’t like being disturbed so I like to plant them at the base of a tree where I’m not going to dig the soil over .                                                                                                                                                                                                          SONY DSC                         FRITILLARIA MELEAGRIS 2

All of this colour will last for the next month or so before the summer flowering plants start to come into bloom.

Enjoy your spring garden

Sarah x

 

 

Spring Day Out – National Trust Grey’s Court 

We had another fab day out to make the most of our NT membership, this time to Grey’s Court near Henley on Thames. I’d heard about its fabulous spring gardens along with a lovely mansion house and Japanese bridge. I’m a big fan of Spring gardens and hubby loves anything Japenese, so I thought, perfect match really.

It was a little overcast and trying to rain when we first arrived so decided to head straight into the mansion house.

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The mansion is a 16th Century building with 20th Century additions. It was still lived in by the family until 2003, apparently Lady Brunner could be seen cooking in the kitchen as visitors walked through, but she was always ready for a little chat.

There are some fantastic examples of 18th-century plasterwork ceilings.

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There were signs saying no mobiles or photography, which I do consider rather archaic with today’s social media etc, so I did take a couple of discreet shots, but had to be guarded about it.

The views from the windows of the stunning gardens and surrounding parkland were spectacular.

I love to see the old stone mullions around the windows.

and some fantastic stain glass windows too.

There were plenty of rooms open to have a browse around but I didn’t take too many photos in-case I annoyed someone!

The kitchen however was a throw back to the 1960s, and I was quite taken with the style.

It was clearly a well used and well loved family kitchen. A couple of NT volunteers were baking scones in the kitchen so the sights and smells made us quite peckish.

Fortunately for us their onsite teashop, The Cowshed, a modern well stocked NT cafe was the next stop on our visit.

cowshed tearoom Refreshed we headed into the gardens to see all the spring flowers, we were not disappointed with the variety of plants in flower already.

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There were a series of walled gardens, each one giving a different look and feel.

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Feeling energetic, we thought we’d embark on the Estate walk, which was marked as 1 3/4 miles, however un-beknown to us quite a lot of the walk was incredibly muddy due to the recent rains, undeterred we ploughed on and it certainly would’ve been a lovely walk if it had been dry.

img_7072To round off our visit we took the short walk to the moon bridge, A gorgeous japanese bridge.

Another fantastic day out, we’ll be back in the summer to see how the summer gardens look.

Do pop back to see how we get on

Sarah  x