It’s been a long time….. Monday, Feb 6 2017 

But here I am alive & kicking in 2017.

Christmas was overall dire, for the first time in years I decided to stay home,this proved to be a bad decision. Too many happenings to list,but the worst had to be no phone & no internet for 18 days. Imagine not being able to contact or speak to loved ones at all 🙂

Since then I’ve been busy with more artistic creations.

For sometime I’ve been looking at a window shelf which was in fact useless.All my windows open inwards so a shelf is redundant on the south side where windows are opened daily.

This is a window which get lots of sun so, I’ve cut out the wood,dropped the level & made it a window seat.


I was so lucky to find a genuine Kilim the exact size I needed.


Needless to say the paint brushes came out again too ! After much deliberation  & fed up with grey stone I did paint the inside of 2 archways , you wouldn’t believe how different & bigger it feels as one walks through.


Next, I’ve really indulged myself in a canvas painting. 🙂  I know I’m no artist but……have always wanted a large painting on a wall in my big room,so set to & painted a Rooster, a French symbol & I’ve also found an icon for a number of things dating back to the middle ages.

Only when I was well into it did I find that 2017 is also Chinese year of the Rooster… coincidentally, my timing is very apt.


So,here I present to you, my Coq de France. Not sealed or hung yet as it’s in oils & I shall have to wait a few months, for drying time, before I can seal it. .


All in all,I’ve enjoyed my winter, there’s nothing more enjoyable than lighting a big fire,loading some Rachmaninov & lots of time to paint.

Soon it will be spring & work outside starts again for another year……..

Well, what an Autumn it has been… Wednesday, Nov 16 2016 

Not only the biggest crop of walnuts for years but the beauty of a dry Autumn brought out unbelievable colours.dscf7565


The Walnuts for some strange reason all fell in their green husks,this meant time spent peeling them off when rotted down & washing well,such a slimy horrible job but well worthwhile. The gloves I used, leaked & consequently had to hide my hands for 3 weeks !

dscf7547Walnut stain is like no other & can only wear away.

With all that was finished I added another step,this time for the entrance hall,then set about trying to repoint the crazy paved terrace.p1050240

Sick of weed killing all that came up between the joints I made the most of the dry weather.I managed a third of the area so it’s an ongoing project.


Next up was something I’ve wanted to do for a while,to paint a little piece used as my bedside table.I tried to team it with the wall paper & this is the finished effect.


Not the easiest to photograph.

I also shabby chic-ed my little dressing table,some won’t like it,but I love it ! Maybe I should spend less time on Pinterest. 🙂


There’s many other minor items who’ve had the treatment since I now have bought some white wax & all furniture is now a possible victim.

I think I maybe addicted to paint as I’m now contemplating the purchase of an electric paint gun,this would enable me to paint the wooden ceilings in the kitchen & snug, not the beams just the planks & some of the stone work……


I’m enjoying all this a great deal & so aware of how lucky I am, to be single & not having to consult anyone when making these decisions. Free as a bird . 🙂




Progress…. Wednesday, Sep 7 2016 

So, I did paint fireplace in the snug & now wonder what took me so long ! The dark red stone now a thing of the past.



Phew…where to start ? Tuesday, Aug 23 2016 

Well, I’ve always said I’m solar powered but have really proved it in recent weeks.

After finding my way around ‘working with cement’ I progressed to creating a front door step,going from this ;


To this ;

IMG_0472        IMG_0474

To this:  The small white beads on the edge are solar stones,so they outline the step in the dark.


Next,after years of stubbing my toe on silly French style dining benches,thinking why don’t designers do the obvious & reduce floor space they take up ?


I finally made a decision to chop them down,out came the chainsaw & off came both ends, they now slide under the table with an inch to spare. Oh so obvious, I should have done it years ago ! Both these & the table came with the house originally.

This then followed , tired of waiting for brown furniture to come back into fashion I got to thinking & asking why am I waiting ……. I set about painting some of it.

I started with the Buffet, its gone from this;


To this….still some detail to sort out but more or less finished



Next up I wanted to get rid of these hideous chairs which came with the house when it was bought as a holiday home.As this room has been used very little,they’ve been used only occasionally.


I’m sure once they were expensive as they’re well made & frames are large heavy oak.This is why I’ve delayed doing anything to them,but felt now is the time .

I took the electric carving knife to the sponge & will use some of it for new upholstery when I find the right fabric,I shall start with the charity shop to see if they have some curtains. I’ve painted,aged & waxed the chairs ready…. this could be a good winter project.

I’ve recently learned velour can be painted,so I may just think about tackling the matching 3 seater sofa, but it would be a big job…….. only after 10 years of living with it did I find it converts to double bed !

Before & after waxing.



In addition to all this activity of course I’ve been keeping up with the lawn mowing etc & other small painting jobs ,including this little gem.


Look carefully,I’ve painted the top of this dark green conservatory table,lime, to match a tray I’ve hung below as a shelf,attached with good staples,this will keep the top free of clutter,I also added castors.

Another brown chair gone !  DSCF7458

All this & I didn’t need to buy a thing,I mixed my own chalk paint & colours,I had everything I needed in stock.

Next victim….could be a dark red brick fireplace in the snug or maybe even painting some brown doors….😀

It’s been a busy two weeks… Saturday, Jul 2 2016 

Tired of climbing a ladder to cut back ivy on this gable end,done twice a year,I decided to strip it all off & rethink the planting at the base.

This took a week to do,some areas pulled off easily in huge mats of ivy,others lower down needed a saw, hammer & chisel to release the thick roots,boy do they grip.Fortunately even after 26 years,the stone work is fine.


Oh what have I started !


Thick ivy roots.


It isn’t the work that’s exhausting it’s the clearing away & dragging all debris over to my bonfire area in the orchard..

Eventually ,all done & look I found the 2 wood corbels of the fireplace,I had no idea they came right through the 3ft thick walls.Surprising after 26 years under damp ivy they’re still rock hard .

At least now some pointing can be done unhindered.


Almost done,much better.Cleaner & tidier. I shall replant the base where I’ve cut down all the Arum lilies ,some will get planted elsewhere & a climbing rose placed at the back.



Next I’ve been experimenting with cement/concrete. I need to upgrade all my paths,so I set about trying to find the best pattern or mould for stepping stones.I’ve used cake moulds,cardboard boxes & even an old frying pan….so far !


Having expected disasters,I couldn’t believe how easy this craft is.The hardest part is lifting the bag of ‘beton’ from the car !!


Just a test


This the very first stone, impressed with a shortbread tin,but not hard enough.


Not sure what I shall do with these little hearts . 🙂


This will become a step for my studio ….once out of the cardboard box !

I Got Him…Her !! Thursday, Jun 16 2016 

Of course this little visitor arrived after the children had left which is a shame,but never the less a thrill for me to see this little treasure.

Those who’ve read my blog know that for the past 5 years I’ve been trying to get a photo of a red squirrel,first spotted scurrying past the conservatory around this time of year,just before the cherries ripen.

Obviously not the same one but sightings have occurred on & off over the years,but not once last year. So, imagine my delight when clear Squirrel damage was evident last week-end,seen here, small half eaten cones & the new shoots bitten off my damaged Italian Cyprus.


Half eaten fir cones/nuts & nipped tree shoots

I spent the next day watching the ground, the tree to see if branches were moving, then decided to take this photo, as I did so I felt bits falling on my back indicating activity in the tree . From then it was a case of not cat & mouse but squirrel & me…..these little mites are like lightning & move at such a speed there’s no time to adjust camera settings etc.

 I put out some walnuts out to see if they would tempt squirrel onto the ground.

Finally the next day walking towards the area I saw this.


Middle of the Step.

I shot inside grabbed the camera & took this next photo from inside the house.



I cannot believe how tiny it is,surely just weaned or is there a family here ?

Of course this all takes place when the grass needs cutting & a mole has surfaced right near this spot !

So there we have it ,there are confident red squirrels in this area,I always wondered why they were not here, but after owning the house for 26 years, with multiple shrubs & trees bearing berries & oaks,beech,walnut,chestnut,hazelnut,many fruit trees,conifers & broadleaf trees,this has to be paradise for them,maybe until now the trees were not mature enough for them ?

Hopefully now the word is out & they will stay.Even during a poor Beech-mast year there’s always other foods available.

Funny thing is, I was so close to taking down this damaged tree during the winter,whilst healthy & growing I couldn’t understand why it had bald patches, maybe this is why ?

Oh & as yet, the walnuts are untouched.


Squirrel up on left.




Up-Cycling… Tuesday, Jun 7 2016 

Another half term has been & gone, we had fun.The eldest child did his revision & of course played his mobile to death.
We did however fire up the metal detector & went in search of an old porthole which was attached to a door…given to me for a back garden door.
I had dumped it in my bonfire area approximately 15 years ago as it was never used,slowly it rotted away outside & I eventually moved it into the old orchard.

Subsequent garden prunings & chopping’s were piled onto it over the years & bonfires lit etc.

This year I came across an old lock & door handle as I cleared the whole area & so was reminded of said door.

Within minutes of sweeping, the machine indicated metal just below the surface,we dug down & bingo the porthole was found.seen here after a good wash & now soaking in vinegar.


Next we had to decide what to do with it, so off Mai & I went to the local Depot Vente where we found a little round table. It was cheap ply with a lino top,but best were the sturdy metal legs…needed for such a heavy glass top, which after testing has proved to be bronze !

We stripped & trimmed with my jigsaw & then knocked out the old corroded screws & presto,here is the result.


I happened to have the green glass on something else but prefer it on this table, all I have to do now is decide where to put it ! :-))

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