If there is anything guaranteed to bring a smile to my face it is flowers, well I guess the name of my blog already gave that away!
I do love the Spring blossom, after the grey of winter it is so very welcome. It has been particularly special this year because it was here one minute and gone the next. When we arrived home from North Yorkshire our Magnolia looked absolutely beautiful
Stunning blooms, a little warm weather, some wind and............ within the blink of an eye the majority became petals on the grass. Ah well, always next year.
Honesty is an easy to grow biennial, really intense colour at the moment. I sent several lots of seeds to blog readers last year - has anybody had any success?
This cherryblossom is so pretty and dainty, there won't be cherries to eat though
unlike from the appleblossom on this tree. I've no idea of the variety but it is good for eating and for cooking.
The flowers on this Tree Peony are like silk.
I've planted up my hanging baskets, three this year, and they are hardening off in the cold frame. The way the weather is going it should be safe to hang them out in about July!
I had really good germination with these Rudbeckias
and these Cosmos but, as you can see, they haven't grown very quickly at all.
They are in the (unheated) greenhouse but are just sitting there. I think perhaps they need a really good talking to.
Well I hope my flowery post has brough a smile to your faces and if you would like some more then pop over to Annie's blog to find more "Smiles on Friday" posts.
I'm glad you enjoyed our holiday in North Yorkshire. Here's a little treat I've just discovered. Earlier this week my friend DH passed on a big pile of Yorkshire Ridings Magazines (and I passed on some Country Living issues). I'm really enjoying this, new to me, magazine and decided to look at the web site. It mentioned back issues, I clicked on the link and was amazed to find you can read them on line without charge so, if you want to continue enjoying stories of Yorkshire, here is the link (you can zoom in to read in comfort).
Thank you to everyone for all the recent lovely comments, something else which brings a very big smile to my face and thank you for your kind words on Sunday's blogpost. Love this photo of my Mum, what a great "beach" outfit.
Wishing you a lovely weekend and leaving you with a gentle reminder quoted from Whip-up as it conveys the unbelievably tragic news of the deaths of blogger and crafter Kathreen Ricketson and her partner Rob Shugg who leave behind two beloved children:
"hug your children extra tight tonight, kiss your partner
good bye, call your family and friends and say I love you"
Tuesday found us in wonderful Farndale. Now there hasn't been much to commend the weather so far this year but the cold did mean a delay in the flowering of many Spring flowers, including the fantastic daffodils in Farndale. When we booked our holiday we thought that, if we were lucky, we might just catch a few before they went over but we couldn't have chosen a better week, they were in full bloom.
Daffodils as far as the eye could see. Compulsory on the walk is a cup of tea in the Daffy cafe.
Even St. Mary's churchyard was full of daffodils.
We were also required to perform a rescue. We spotted a lamb which seemed to be stuck half in half out of a fence and behind a gate. We went to investigate and sure enough it was stuck. We were looking at the best way to free it when two sheep and two lambs came rushing over. I thought they were going to have a "go" at us they came so fast but they stopped and looked at us, looked at the lamb and you could almost see they were saying "can you please help?". So we did. When we had freed it it walked off with its Mum (Auntie and two cousins went the other way). It had something to eat but you could see, as it trailed off behind Mum, that it knew it was in disgrace.
The "bird" of the week was the chaffinch, they were everywhere. I was sitting on the bridge near St. Mary's when one came hopping along towards me, I thought "oh, how friendly", it looked at me, looked down and went "slurp" as it grabbed a great big fly!
I saw my first "Redstarts" on the walk, no photos, could see them through binoculars but too far away for a photo. What a coincidence when I got home and found the photo on the front of the latest RSPB magazine was a Redstart!
Don't know if I've shown you this tree before but worth seeing again, wonder how old it is, a real grand old gentleman.
The weather was superb for our walk, we ended up sunbathing in a meadow surrounded by daffodils (no daffies were injured!). My over-used word of the day (in fact for the week!) was idyllic, it really was.
Another brilliant day was spent in Whitby, of course we travelled on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, it was the 40th Anniversary of the official opening of the railway. We didn't travel on the special Anniversary train, rather too expensive at £40 per person but every journey on the train is special. Especially when pulled by Sir Nigel Gresley
the orginal "007" built in Doncaster
and holder of the post-war Steam engine speed record (The Mallard holds the pre-war one at 125.88 mph)
We also did some walking near Grosmont and Goathland, it was a great week, we were so very lucky with the weather.
In fact we enjoyed it so much, we've already booked for next year!
In case I haven't yet tempted you to visit the North Yorkshire Moors, then just take a look at this truly "Great Day Out".
Well it was, wasn't it? Smiling Sunshine. I almost put away my winter clothes at the beginning of the week, now I'm wondering about switching the central heating back on!
We have just had a lovely week in Pickering, North Yorkshire. As we travelled to the town we knew it was going to be a good week, just look at the sky and the fluffy clouds greeting us.
One of the nearest villages to Pickering is Thornton-le-Dale, a very popular attraction there is the North Yorkshire Motor Museum, we didn't go in this time but still enjoyed looking at the cars in and around their showroom.
Wouldn't it be wonderful to travel in this beauty?
We had a walk around the lake and were joined by these geese and their family.
Canada geese aren't exactly the most attractive of birds but you have to admit they have some very cute offspring.
Oy, leave some for me............
On Sunday we went to two carboot sales, the first was at the Pickering showground which was a bit of a let down, they had been doing some work on the site and this was the first sale this year but there had been very little publicity so there were few sellers and even fewer shoppers. Money burning a hole in our pockets, we then made our way to the beautiful village of Hutton-le-Hole.
Again not very many sellers but that didn't matter because I immediately spotted a wonderful vintage sewing basket, just what I had been looking for for quite some time. When I saw it I shot over to the stall, in fact Usain Bolt couldn't have beaten me to it. In beautiful condition and priced at £7, what a wonderful find, that certainly brought a smile to my face.
That evening we had a wonderful dinner at The Grapes in Ebberston, our first visit and it won't be our last. New people have just taken over the premises, great venue and the food was excellent and very reasonably priced. Well worth a visit if you are in the area.
On Monday we got out our bus passes and jumped on the bus to Scarborough. So far the weather had been quite cool but what a lovely change!
Lovely and warm. One bird we've seen on the Scarborough cliffs over the last few years was back on its nest - the Peregrine Falcon. Not sure if there were any eggs yet, hope so, sadly last year the rain washed away the nest and its contents.
Very few seabirds were nesting, hopefully the warmer weather will have encouraged them to set up home.
I'll tell you more about the holiday in my next post but wanted to leave you with a Friday smile - On Sunday our next door neighbour asked if I could help a racing pigeon which had been walking around their garden since Friday. I went and collected it and put it in an old cat carrier and gave it wild bird seed and water.
After a while I let him out of his carrier to see if he was just tired but he just tried to run into garage. Rosie the cat quite liked him!.
I got its number from its leg but, when I put it in the web site for "missing" pigeons, it kept saying "number not recognised". I emailed another organisation but, by the next day, had received no phone call and no email. Found a local number which was for "race times" so thought I'd ring that, spoke to lady and she gave me her son's number as he is the local President. He lived nearby and came round in minutes. He said he would find the owner. I hope he did.
Also on Monday morning, whilst the pigeon was still here, a greyhound arrived on the patio (same one had appeared in our garden a few weeks ago), DH sees it and goes out, greyhound runs off down garden, disappears. Ten minutes later there is the sound of barking and a right "kerfuffle" is heard, next minute greyhound is seen running down garden with Rosie the cat in hot pursuit, closely followed by DH ............dog runs off through neighbouring gardens........ Rosie and DH wander back home ........it all happens here!
Have a great weekend and for more smiles don't forget to visit Annie and all the other "Friday Smiles" bloggers.
I was uploading some photos yesterday and I realised I hadn't mentioned an exhibition I went to quite recently. It was called "Sparkle and Spin" by the artist Paola McClure.
Paola was born and brought up in Dundee, she trained as an Illustrator and Print Maker. After graduating she returned to her lifelong love of playing with textiles and began experimenting with soft sculpture.
Following some years spent teaching she returned to Dundee to bring up her family. Then in 2001 she was asked to take part in an exhbition called "Women's Work" and for her to decorate a full sized coffin, it was following this project that she returned to creating the large scale fabric sculptures.
The exhibition is on tour and I was able to view it at our local Museum and Art Gallery. The title of the exhibition "Sparkle and Spin" was taken from the 1950's book written by Ann Rand and illustrated by her Graphic Designer husband, Paul. "Through harmony and rhythm, resonance and pitch, Ann Rand inspires readers to listen to the tuneful play of her text as it sings off each page. Illustrated with graphic designer Paul Rand's colorful, witty artwork, "Sparkle and Spin" is a children's classic that reveals to young readers the power and music in the words they use every day.
Paul Rand did not set out to create classic children's books, he simply wanted to make pictures that were playful. Like the alchemist of old, he transformed unlikely abstract forms into icons that inspired children and adults and laid the foundation for two books that have indeed become children's classics."
The book was a childhood favourite of Paola and its striking visual style had a huge impact on her.
One of the things I particularly like was the opportunity for children (or anyone!) to interact with some of the exhibition. There was a collection of fabric and we were reminded that fabric can bring back memories, stir emotions or remind you of a person or thing. You were invited to look at the fabric and write down what it reminded us of or made us feel. This is what the Tartan evoked for some.
There were also piles of fabric shapes and you could build your own Totem.
Paola likes to use fabric she finds in charity shops and jumble sales and is always looking for the right fabric to bring her works to life.
Isn't the head of this figure just amazing?
Some of her work, whilst still having its sense of fun, does have a dark edge and I'm not sure I'd want this next one coming alive any time soon.
This was my favourite
If you've enjoyed this quick viewing then I'm sure you will want to see the rest of the exhibition so watch out for it coming to a venue near you as it is continuing to tour around the UK.
Now if I haven't provided enough Friday smiles (and don't forget to pop over to Ann's blog for more smiles) then I think this link to some Amazon reviews will provide a few more. They are a little "rude" and definitely not one for those of a sensitive disposition. I have to say that, having read the second review by Mr. A. Chappell of Denmark , I will never look at a sprout in quite the same way ever again!
I also wanted to record how much I enjoyed every single minute of the Great British Sewing Bee. (final episode here) Congratulations to the wonderful Ann Rowley, no surprise that she took the crown but the success of the series was down to all the participants and to the judges. Thank goodness they have announced a further series and it will have six episodes! Brilliant.
Finally, to say thank you to my wonderful husband for 26 years of happy marriage, "Happy Anniversary", (and sorry for giving you my rotten cold!)
I love flowers, I have favourites, I love a snowdrop, a hellebore, a rose, a daffodil, I love them all but at the moment there is one flower which is really making me smile, the pansy.
Aren't they just gorgeous? I cannot claim the credit for growing these, at the beginning of last week I went on a plant hunt with a neighbour and we called in Morrisons supermarket where we found they were selling these pansies and several other plants in a BOGOF deal so we each bought 2 packs of 6.
I think they will do a good job of brightening the days until the summer flowers arrive.
I have an unheated greenhouse but I hadn't sown any seed until these little beauties lit the spark. The same day I sowed several pots including Echium, Rudbeckia, Morning Glory, Nasturtiums, Sweetpeas and Cosmos. Would you believe, apart from the Sweetpeas and the Nasturtiums, they have already germinated and the Morning Glory are already over 2" high! I had kept some polystyrene packaging and I sat the pots inside, some with plastic covers, others with little glass cloches and then I covered the whole lot with fleece, that extra protection certainly worked a treat.
The weather is a little better and the birds are all working hard collecting their food, I'm pleased to say the Reed Buntings still visit (one day there were 3)
and the Yellowhammers have returned!
I usually put the little suet pellets mixed in with the peanuts in the peanut holders but recently have been putting them on the wall for the birds which can't use the feeders. I was really pleased to see a male robin take one for himself and then fly away with another. I thought he was taking it back home to his "missus on the nest" but, stayed watching, and realised he was feeding a smaller male. I then checked my bird book which said that when the female is sitting on a second lot of eggs the male often takes over feeding of the first lot of fledglings. So, despite the long winter, it seems the birds have been raising some young. I know you can't quite see the Dad (just his tail sticking out behind the branch) but you can see the young one leaning to receive his food, his little fat belly perhaps showing he is the only fledgling to survive and has been very well fed.
Have you been watching the Great British Sewing Bee? I have and it has been brilliant, if you missed it you can catch up on Iplayer (if outside UK try searching YouTube). I wasn't sure about the "competition" format but it has all been very friendly between the contestants. I'm rooting for Ann! What an elegant lady and so talented, apart from her sewing she has done some beautiful crochet work - the scarf she was wearing in the latest episode was stunning. I think it has been lovely to see a lady of more mature years featuring on TV, let's hope we see more. I do hope there are more shows like this in the future.
I imagine those of you who did watch suddenly developed a sewing itch, well I did, not that I have "scratched it" yet but it did get me sorting through some of my old patterns.
Not sure I will be making either of these, cute though they are. In the same box I have quite a lot of old music and just thought you might like to see this very old one.
I did play the piano a little when I was young but this wasn't one of my pieces, think it belonged to my Nan. Isn't it a fabulous image?
I hope I have given you something to smile about this Friday and I'm linking with Ann at a Stitch in Time.
On a more serious note I'm sure you have been thinking of and praying for those affected by the tragic events in Boston and also in West, Texas. Our hearts go out to them.
Finally, I would like to welcome my newest follower Sandy of the lovely Teacuplane blog. At the moment Sandy is here in the UK on holiday, I hope she has a lovely time and look forward to reading about all about her travels, especially the time she will be spending in beautiful Yorkshire. Hope the sun shines for you Sandy.
Wishing you all a great weekend, Carol xx
Edit: for those who have been enthused by the Great Sewing Bee - Louise of Sew Scrumptious has just opened a Fabric Shop. She has an opening 10% discount so rush on over and see her beautiful stock.