Thursday, 28 September 2017


Good Morning to you, 

Do you ever find the time, to stop what you are doing and enjoy a moment in time.

Do you allow yourself the luxury of clearing your mind to  enjoy what is  right in front of your eyes.

On Tuesday morning, I was lucky enough to do exactly this.

I was up and about early to get myself ready to go to my Tuesday sewing group.  I don't know about you, but I am not the kind of person, who can leap out of bed, shower, dress and drink a cup of coffee within the space of half an hour.  I am the type of person who likes to ease myself gently into the day.

George had decided to have a lie-in, so I was on my own in the conservatory drinking my morning coffee.  I was looking out of the window enjoying the rare early morning sunshine, thinking how peaceful it was.  When no sooner had the thought crossed my mind, than a family of blackbirds flew across the garden.  They all rested on the fence for a moment before the 3 babies flew down to the lawn and began running around our garden.  I did not move, because I did not want the blackbirds to fly away.  The thought about not moving, had only just entered my mind, when 2 magpies arrived in the garden.  They sat on the opposite fence and one decided to fly to the roof of the neighbouring bungalow.  When I looked over in the direction the magpie was flying,  I noticed a wood pigeon sitting very comfortably on a tv aerial. Upon seeing the magpie, the wood pigeon moved and started to pay attention to the magpie on the lower level.  The magpie stayed where he was for a few seconds and then he decided to circle the chimney stack.  He disappeared from view and upon turning the corner he continued his walk around the chimney stack.  

I watched and I could see the pigeon was unsure as to what the magpie was doing..... but I knew, the magpie wanted to be the one perched on the tv aerial and not the wood pigeon.

But the wood pigeon stood his ground and was not giving up his aerial quite so easily, as the tv aerial gave him a good view of the surrounding area.  I watched to see how this would play out.  The magpie soon  realised that walking around the chimney stack was not enough to move the wood pigeon from its perch.  So he decided on another tactic and harassed the pigeon by flapping his wings. It looked as if he intended to fly up to the tv aerial, but he didn't, he continued flapping his wings.  Still the pigeon held his ground, that is, until the magpie received reinforcements.... its mate arrived and flew to where the wood pigeon was seated.  The tv aerial  started to wobble which made the wood pigeon uncomfortable, so he finally gave way and flew to a large tree at the bottom of the garden. The magpie who had tried so hard to eject the wood pigeon, joined his mate and they sat for a few minutes, having a good look around, before deciding they had had enough and flew away leaving the tv aerial vacant for the next occupant.

Now I'm not sure if it was the same wood pigeon which returned or if it was another, but a wood pigeon arrived and made itself comfortable on the tv aerial. When it had settled  a 2nd wood pigeon landed on the roof of the bungalow.  Now at this point I did not know if the wood pigeon on the aerial was male or female, but within a couple of seconds, the wood pigeon on the roof started billing and cooing at the wood pigeon on the aerial, so it is safe to say, it was a female sitting on the tv aerial.  

.... and so the show began.  The male wood pigeon on the roof of the bungalow, started his little dance. His head went up, then his head went down, he then took a couple of steps closer to the female wood pigeon on the tv aerial and he continued his little dance of courtship.  He billed and he cooed as he edged closer and closer to the female wood pigeon.  He had completed his final dance when he decided to take his chance and flew on to the tv aerial where he continued to bill and coo once again.  He really did his best to impress the female wood pigeon, but the moment he stepped closer to her, the female flew away, leaving the male wood pigeon alone on the tv aerial, looking very sorry for himself. All the effort he had put into wooing the female wood pigeon, had been to no avail.

.... and then I had a lovely surprise.  My neighbours have a Christmas tree planted in their garden and it is beautiful.  It pops its head over our fence by a couple of feet and both George and I love it.  I caught movement out the corner of my eye and I looked across at the Christmas tree and there on a branch sat the first robin of the year.  I was thrilled to see him because when I was a small girl, robins and Christmas went hand in hand.   Seeing the robin made me smile, but then my smile grew even larger, because a moment later, a 2nd  robin flew across the garden and joined the 1st robin in the Christmas tree.  I sat very still so as not to disturb them and they rewarded me by staying for a minute or so.  It was so lovely.

What I hadn't realised was, our garden is a bit of a bird highway first thing in the morning.  Birds were tooing and frowing for the half an hour or so when I was sat in my chair.  It was a delightful way to start the day.

.... and now I am smiling to myself, because I have just talked about enjoying a moment in time, and  now I am going to propel  you forward, to Christmas, as I am going to show you a Christmas gift I am making. 

I am busy making two Christmas quilts for two very special people.  I cannot say who, because I know they read my blog, so I am keeping them guessing.

I adore sewing and I have an immense love of hand sewing, which works perfectly when it comes to sewing hexagons.

When I begin a project, I love taking the time to look at the material which I have tucked away in my cupboard.

Some materials work together and some don't, but 9 times out of 10, I do find what I am looking for within my store of material.

I have a well used cardboard template to cut out my hexagon papers and 

a larger cardboard template, to cut out my material.  This is such a peaceful task.... and so the process begins.

When the hexagons have been cut out and the hexagon papers are ready to be attached to the material hexagons, I find my needle and thread and enjoy the peaceful art of hand sewing.

Making hexagons is a brilliant way to use up scraps of material because a hexagon can be cut to any size.

Here I made sure I centred the picture of the poinsettia into the middle hexagon.... pretty effective don't you think.

Oh no, I've just noticed I have sewn 3 hexagons upside down..... when a pattern is involved you have to be so careful.  As you can see I wasn't.  Oh well, it's time to find the unpicker and set this right. 

Each hexagon can be a different colour or just one colour choice but with different designs.

I have so enjoyed hand sewing these hexagons together, but I had to focus, because for some reason which I can't quite fathom, I sewed one completed hexagon onto the backing fabric, with one of the centre papers still in tact.  Luckily I was able to retrieve it with a little bit of careful manoeuvring. I'll put money on it, that this happened, when I was at my Tuesday club.... I have a feeling that it was too much chatting and not enough concentration.

I will not show you all the blocks, but I promise to show you the two quilts which have to be finished by Christmas time.  Although the hexagons have been hand sewn, I think I will use the sewing machine to attach the sashing, because that will allow me more time to hand quilt.

.... and would you like to see the mannequin I used to lay out my blocks out.

My lovely wicker chair.  This beautiful cushion was one of two which used to grace my bed, but I think, as beautiful as it is, it was a little too feminine for George, so I brought them down stairs.... and this one is living happily on my wicker chair.  Although not for long, because my autumnal cushions will be making an appearance very soon.

The nights are drawing in very quickly and there is certainly a colder nip in the air these days.

.... but I really don't mind when I am warm and cosy inside my home.

Take care and I will catch up with you on Thursday.

As Always,

Thursday, 21 September 2017


Good Morning to you,

It is roughly 3 months since we moved into our new home and one of our biggest tasks was getting to grips with the garden.

Do you remember how it looked when we first moved in?  Goodness me, there was so much to do.  I have to say that both George and I did not feel phased by the amount of work which was needed to bring this garden to life, we both saw the new garden as a wonderful challenge. 

Its not to say that we haven't been tired at the end of our gardening days, because we have, but it has been a good tiredness and we are so pleased with what we have achieved.

Now before I show you the progress we have made, I have to tell you, the following photographs are not the style you are used to me showing you. My previous garden was a beautiful, mature garden, whereas this garden needs so much basic work to be done before we could even consider any planting.

One of the first jobs we had to do and when I say 'we' I mean the royal 'we'..... George. He had to pressure wash both of the decks.  They were covered in algae and quite honestly they were a danger as they were so slippery. I came out of the house one morning to hang out my washing and I almost slipped and fell.  Luckily I managed to hold onto the side of the door, otherwise I would have landed with a nasty bump.

So George set to and both of the decks were transformed.

George pressure washed the deck by the kitchen and also the deck at the bottom of the garden.  You can see the deck drying in the sunshine. The difference when George had finished was amazing.

As you can see, during July/August, the grass began to grow. We had considered re-turfing the lawn, but Phyllis suggested we wait, as given time, the lawn would recover and she was right.  Initially when Gary our friendly gardener, cut the grass, the garden looked more like a hay field, but after a few days we could see a light green haze forming over the garden, just little dots of green here and there. We were so pleased when we realised the lawn could be rescued.

Whilst we waited for the grass to grow, we decided to dig our new borders.  I dug whilst George,

removed the turf and weeded.  As you can see, George is a man who knows who he is and is not afraid to wear pink gardening shoes.

After a lot of laborious work removing so many weeds, the first border was finished.  As you can see our plants were waiting in line ready to be planted.

After digging the first border, George decided to paint all the fencing surrounding the garden.  I chose the colour green because I felt the fence would blend into the background once our trees and shrubs were planted.

So we now have, the fences painted green,

the grass as you can see is turning a beautiful green. We have fed the grass it's autumn feed so we are hoping that it will clear any weeds which are lingering in the the lawn.

The decking has been painted green.  A more bluey green, than the fence, but we needed anti-slip paint and we could not find a matching colour.  When all my roses, jasmine and clematis have been planted, you will never notice the difference. There are a couple of fence panels that seem to need a little more paint, but that has to wait for the next sunny day.

As you can see, I could not wait to begin planting, so I have added a few winter pansies to give us a little colour and focus in the garden.

.... and do you remember the decking by my back door.  Not very attractive is it.... and this is after it had been power washed.

George being the man of action that he is, once again, sprang into action wearing his pink gardening shoes,

and transformed the unsightly decking into a thing of beauty.  I realise it is a little extreme to describe a decking as a thing of beauty, but quite honestly, the way it looked before, to me it really has become a thing of beauty.

I've just noticed the beautiful pink dahlia petal on the decking. Doesn't it stand out well against the green.... ooh I cannot wait to begin my planting around this deck.

As I mentioned earlier, none of these photographs are gorgeous, but they are photographs of our hard work.  We have to do all this boring work, before we can turn our attention to the planting, although as you saw earlier, I couldn't help myself, I just had to add a few plants to the garden.

I have decided that each month I will show you what we have achieved in the garden.  We are working hard because we want to have all our daffodils, tulips, snowdrops, bluebells and whitebells planted before the middle of October.

Before I leave you, I wanted to say that I am sorry I have not visited and not replied to comments as much as I usually do.  The garden has taken up so much of our time, that I have not even sat in front of the computer until today.  As the winter approaches, there will be less to do in the garden and I will have much more time to visit.

So for now, please forgive me, I promise I will get back to normal very soon.

Take care and I will catch up with you next Thursday.

As Always,

Thursday, 14 September 2017


Good Morning to you,

I am settled in our new home.

.... and how do I know this for sure?

Well I will tell you. I have found the time to potter. A thing I truly love.

.... also, I have stopped trying to put the broom inside the fridge. Isn't that crackers, why on earth would I do that. Goodness only knows.

I wouldn't mind, but the design of my new kitchen is totally different to the design of my previous kitchen, so I'm not sure why I kept opening the fridge door wanting to place the broom inside. I am pleased to report, things have settled down and the broom has found it's new home, not in the fridge, but in a cupboard. Once more my life is settling down to a nice rhythm.

.... and the pottering.

I have finally managed to find the time to care for 

my Moth orchids.  
Since we  moved house, time has been taken up with settling into our new home. So my orchids have not received the attention they deserve. 

They have not been sprayed with water

had their leaves dusted.
My normal routine has gone right out of the window. 

Luckily for me, my Moth orchids have forgiven my tardiness

and rewarded me with the most beautiful flowers.
This beautiful white orchid, lives in our conservatory and it loves the warm conditions which the conservatory provides.  

Whilst this pretty pink orchid,  which sits comfortably on my kitchen windowsill, also loves it's new home.  
 It really is a vision of beauty.

When I am peeling potatoes or chopping vegetables for our supper, I look out of my kitchen window and before I see my garden, I take in the beauty of this lovely Moth orchid.

All the Moth orchids I have shown you are still flowering and will continue to do so for a month or more.

.... but I have 3 orchids which are dormant, sitting on my kitchen windowsill, which will flower in a few months time.

Before they are delivered to their new home on the kitchen windowsill, I cut back the stems just above a node. They are then watered once a week and fed once a month until new growth starts appearing, then I increase the feed to once a week. 

So when your Moth orchids have finished flowering, don't throw them away.  I know a lot of my friends have done so in the past, but changed their minds, once they realised how easy it was to care for them. 

If you would like to know more about caring for your Moth Orchids.  I wrote about this, way back in June 2013. Since first writing about Moth orchids I have since discovered a plant feed which is sprayed onto the leaves.  This makes caring for Moth Orchids even easier.

I find as I have bought Moth orchids at different times of the year, I always have 2 or 3 orchids flowering at the same time, when the 1st batch have finished flowering, I have another batch ready to burst into flower.

Now I thought I should mention, I am not telling you that my way is the only way to care for Moth orchids, as you may have another way. I am sharing with you, my experience, of caring for Moth orchids. I mention this, because  as with cooking and baking or anything else you read about, here, on Ivy, Phyllis and Me! I am sharing my experiences with you.

So if you don't have a Moth orchid on your coffee table.... treat yourself, as they are not very expensive.  Here in England they can be bought quite cheaply from supermarkets.

I promise you, once you've bought one, you will buy another and another.

Take care and I will catch up with you next Thursday.

As Always

Saturday, 9 September 2017


Good Morning Everyone,

 Gosh, can you believe it,  Wednesday is here again!  Where does the time go? Phyllis did warn me, that the older you get the quicker time passes.  I am inclined to agree to a certain extent, but I also believe, the busier you are the faster time passes and since I have started blogging my days are so full they seem to be  zipping by!

What is your opinion on blue and white, do you love it or hate it?

 I  love  blue and white, whether it is blue and white ceramics, blue and white material...well let's just say anything blue and white makes me smile.

I grew to love blue and white when I lived in Germany as a young married wife. 

Look how young I was, a friend snapped this photograph without me knowing

 I've noticed blue and white  comes in and out of fashion, but I have never cared for fashion with regards to the home.  I like my home to be individual and to be a collection of  items which tell the story of our married life. I'm not interested in things which are disposable and that will flit in and out of my life. I don't want to be told, this is what I should have this year and what colours are in vogue at the moment.  I want to be an individual and I want my home to reflect this. I want to display treasured things that stay with me, that mean something when I look at them.  To remember where it was bought or who gave the item to me. I have loved building our home slowly over the years and not to rush out to buy the latest whatever. Our home is filled with a wonderful eclectic mix and we love it. 

 So with that in mind, I thought today I would show you something that I really love,  my collection of blue and white plates. Well not my entire collection, as you would be bored to tears if I showed you them all.  So I've selected a few pieces which I think you will enjoy.   These blue and white plates are from different parts of the world and have been packed and unpacked so many times that I have lost count.  Some beautiful plates  have been lost along the way, but that is part of of life!

A Blue Delft Plate

This is a beautiful Blue Delft plate. This is such a pretty plate.  The flowers  appear to be  huddled together, and remind me of a coral reef.  Then there are the taller flowers stretching their faces towards the sun, you can almost sense their movement in the wind. See the little bug, don't you just love   that it has gone unnoticed by  the bird.

Royal Doulton Plate

This plate is a fine china Royal Doulton Plate.  The willow pattern was designed by Thomas Minton around 1790. 

Willow refers to the pattern and the background colour is always white, whilst the foreground colour could be blue, pink, green or brown.  Here is a poem which describes the Willow pattern.
Two birds flying high,
A Chinese vessel, sailing by,
A bridge with 3 men, sometimes 4,
A willow tree hanging oer,
A Chinese temple, there it stands,
Built upon the river sands,
An apple tree, with apples on,
A crooked fence to end my song.

This plate is from Portugal and is quite different from the previous plates I have shown you. Do you see  the  cut outs, I feel this is a more feminine looking plate. 

This plate is from Dresden, Germany.  We visited there many years ago and this plate was bought as a memory of that visit.

This is "Water Tower" a Wedgwood Queen's Ware blue and white plate

 Do you see the sun peeking through the clouds and the little girl playing with her cat.

You don't get a sense of size from this picture, but the plate measures
14 inches in width.  It is spectacular hanging on the wall.

....... and now for something a little different. This is a beautiful Spanish Plate, it is so vibrant to look at ..... it reminds me of hot sunny days.

Size - 14 inches wide

This is another large plate from Spain, I know there is brown and green amongst the blue, but look how vibrant the blue colour is, again it is a stunning plate.

This is a Japanese plate.  George loves Bonsai trees and has quite a few which he cares for.  The spruce tree to the left of the plate reminds me of  George's Bonsai trees.

Isn't this Portuguese plate fabulous.  I just love this plate.

....... and finally,

Not one,



 Blue Delft Tiles

Sorry about the gaps in the corners, they really aren't this big.

Blue Delft Tile

I hope you have enjoyed looking at this small selection of my  blue plates. I have so many more to share with you, but I will leave that for another day, as I don't want you to overload on blue and white!

Enjoy the rest of your week and I will catch up with  you on Sunday.  Until then, take care.

Best Wishes,

Daphne xxx

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