Thursday, 30 December 2010

The Thursday Poem


Young Woman Reading by a Window by Delphin Enjolras


The Starlight Night

Look at the stars! look, look up at the skies!
O look at all the fire-folk sitting in the air!
The bright boroughs, the circle-citadels there!
Down in dim woods the diamond delves! the elves'-eyes!
The grey lawns cold where gold, where quickgold lies!
Wind-beat whitebeam! airey abeles set on a flare!
Flake-doves sent floating forth at a farmyard scare! -
Ah well! it is all a purchase, all is a prize.

Buy then! bid then! - What? - Prayer, patience, alms, vows
Look, look: a May-mess, like on orchard bows!
Look! March-bloom, like on mealed-with-yellow sallows!
These are indeed the barn; withindoors house
The shocks. This piece-bright paling shuts the spouse
Christ home, Christ and his mother and all his hallows.

Gerard Manly Hopkins
(28th July 1844 - 8th June 1889)

from the book: Poem for the Day One

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Prayer for World Peace


Dove of Peace ~ Giclee print


We pray to the great Spiritual Power in which we live and move and have our being.
We pray that we may at all times keep our minds open to new ideas and shun dogma;
that we may grow in our understanding of the nature of all living beings and our connectedness with the natural world;
that we may become ever more filled with generosity of spirit and true compassion and love for all life;
that we may strive to heal the hurts that we have inflicted on nature and control our greed for material things, knowing that our actions are harming our natural world and the future of our children;
that we may value each and every human being for who he is, for who she is, reaching to the spirit that is within, knowing the power of each individual to change the world.

We pray for social justice, for the alleviation of the crippling poverty that condemns millions of people around the world to lives of misery - hungry, sick, and utterly without hope.
We pray for the children who are starving, who are condemned to homelessness, slave labour, prostitution, and especially for those forced to fight, to kill and torture even members of their own family.
We pray for the victims of violence and war, for those wounded in body and for those wounded in mind.
We pray for the multitudes of refugees, forced from their homes to alien places through war or through the utter destruction of their environment.

We pray for suffering animals everywhere, for an end to the pain caused by scientific experimentation, intensive farming, fur farming, shooting, trapping, training for entertainment, abusive pet owners, and all other forms of exploitation such as overloading and overworking pack animals, bull fighting, badger baiting, dog and cock fighting and so many more.

We pray for an end to cruelty, whether to humans or other animals, for an end to bullying, and torture in all its forms.
We pray that we may learn the peace that comes with forgiving and the strength we gain in loving;
that we may learn to take nothing for granted in this life;
that we may learn to see and understand with our hearts;
that we may learn to rejoice in our being.

We pray for these things with humility;
We pray because of the hope that is within us, and because of a faith in the ultimate triumph of the human spirit;
We pray because of our love for Creation, and because of our trust in God.
We pray, above all, for peace throughout the world.

prayer for world peace ~ dr jane goodall

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Merry Christmas!



Wishing you all a very merry Christmas, sweetie~pies ~ I hope you all have the most wonderful day, my loves, filled to the brim with love, laughter, peace and happiness!

Friday, 24 December 2010

A Christmas wish



I was sent this by a friend and wanted to share it with you all.....

Thursday, 23 December 2010

They grew together.....



and now they'll stew together ;-)

Mushrooms for the beef stew I made for dinner last night hehehehe

Marnie the ring necked parrot

Just too cute not to share!

The Thursday Poem


Young Woman Reading by a Window by Delphin Enjolras


Christmas

The bells of waiting Advent ring,
The Tortoise stove is lit again
And lamp-oil light across the night
Has caught the streaks of winter rain
In many a stained-glass window sheen
From Crimson Lake to Hookers Green.

The holly in the windy hedge
And round the Manor House the yew
Will soon be stripped to deck the ledge,
The altar, font and arch and pew,
So that the villagers can say
'The church looks nice' on Christmas Day.

Provincial Public Houses blaze,
Corporation tramcars clang,
On lighted tenements I gaze,
Where paper decorations hang,
And bunting in the red Town Hall
Says 'Merry Christmas to you all'.

And London shops on Christmas Eve
Are strung with silver bells and flowers
As hurrying clerks the City leave
To pigeon-haunted classic towers,
And marbled clouds go scudding by
The many-steepled London sky.

And girls in slacks remember Dad,
And oafish louts remember Mum,
And sleepless children's hearts are glad.
And Christmas-morning bells say 'Come!'
Even to shining ones who dwellS
afe in the Dorchester Hotel.

And is it true,
This most tremendous tale of all,
Seen in a stained-glass window's hue,
A Baby in an ox's stall ?
The Maker of the stars and sea
Become a Child on earth for me?

And is it true?
For if it is,
No loving fingers tying strings
Around those tissued fripperies,
The sweet and silly Christmas things,
Bath salts and inexpensive scent
And hideous tie so kindly meant,

No love that in a family dwells,
No carolling in frosty air,
Nor all the steeple-shaking bells
Can with this single Truth compare -
That God was man in Palestine
And lives today in Bread and Wine.

Sir John Betjeman
(28th August 1906 – 19th May 1984)

Monday, 20 December 2010

My word, I cut it fine this year!



But better late than never, eh sweetie~pies ;-)

The Christmas pudding mixture doesn't look too promising before it's cooked, does it! I wish I could share with you the wonderful aroma, though :-)




I made a larger batch of the mixture this year ~ these are four of the six I made yesterday.




The old saucepan used to belong to my Grandma. I only ever seem to use it and the steamer when I make my Christmas puddings!



The first of this year's batch ~ after having been gently steaming for seven hours :-) This one is for neighbours of our's ~ I do hope they don't think that I've forgotten!


The pudding for our neighbours ~ all wrapped and ready to take round to them :-)

Sunday, 19 December 2010

A winter wonderland.....

.....but at the risk of sounding 'bah, humbug' ~ I really wouldn't mind if it all melted away now ;-)













Prayer for World Peace


Dove of Peace ~ Giclee print


We pray to the great Spiritual Power in which we live and move and have our being.
We pray that we may at all times keep our minds open to new ideas and shun dogma;
that we may grow in our understanding of the nature of all living beings and our connectedness with the natural world;
that we may become ever more filled with generosity of spirit and true compassion and love for all life;
that we may strive to heal the hurts that we have inflicted on nature and control our greed for material things, knowing that our actions are harming our natural world and the future of our children;
that we may value each and every human being for who he is, for who she is, reaching to the spirit that is within, knowing the power of each individual to change the world.

We pray for social justice, for the alleviation of the crippling poverty that condemns millions of people around the world to lives of misery - hungry, sick, and utterly without hope.
We pray for the children who are starving, who are condemned to homelessness, slave labour, prostitution, and especially for those forced to fight, to kill and torture even members of their own family.
We pray for the victims of violence and war, for those wounded in body and for those wounded in mind.
We pray for the multitudes of refugees, forced from their homes to alien places through war or through the utter destruction of their environment.

We pray for suffering animals everywhere, for an end to the pain caused by scientific experimentation, intensive farming, fur farming, shooting, trapping, training for entertainment, abusive pet owners, and all other forms of exploitation such as overloading and overworking pack animals, bull fighting, badger baiting, dog and cock fighting and so many more.

We pray for an end to cruelty, whether to humans or other animals, for an end to bullying, and torture in all its forms.
We pray that we may learn the peace that comes with forgiving and the strength we gain in loving;
that we may learn to take nothing for granted in this life;
that we may learn to see and understand with our hearts;
that we may learn to rejoice in our being.

We pray for these things with humility;
We pray because of the hope that is within us, and because of a faith in the ultimate triumph of the human spirit;
We pray because of our love for Creation, and because of our trust in God.
We pray, above all, for peace throughout the world.

prayer for world peace ~ dr jane goodall

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Happy Birthday Adrian!


Sending all my love and lots of hugs and kisses to my darling husband on his birthday!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

The week so far.....



.....the cyclamen on the kitchen windowsill is still blooming.....



.....the geranium is blooming, too.....



.....and I invented a new game called 'Pile the Logs' ~ you won't believe how incredibly easy-peasy it is to play, sweetie~pies! All you have to do is simply pile logs in a basket and see how high you can go before they topple over, land on your feet and scare the dog ;-P

I truly don't know what on earth I was thinking that day, as every time I went outside I brought an armful of logs back in with me! I did a similar thing with my supermarket shopping earlier that week, too, my loves. I just totally forgot to go check what I already had before I placed my order ~ since we don't have a car, I order online from Tesco and have it delivered. As usual I started by shopping in the offers section first, the result of which was that I bought a number of multi-buy offers and ended up with barely enough room to squeeze it all in both the rather small freezers we have! Take heed, sweetie~pies, and learn from my mistake ~ it's no fun rearranging freezers in this weather, I can tell you ;-)



On Tuesday we had our chimney swept. Amber was awfully taken with Mr Chimney-Sweep and was adament that she was going to stay as close to him as possible. He was quite taken with her, too, thankfully and didn't appear bothered in the slightest that she just couldn't seem to stop herself sniffing his trousers!!! I think she found the combination of soot and Mr Chimney-Sweep's own dog irresistible ;-)



I have finally gotten round to putting up some Christmas decorations. This is the doorway between our living and dining rooms. I really like these pretty lights although one of the shades got broken last year, unfortunately. I was quite pleased with myself for figuring out an easy way to hang them, too ~ by putting up a length of net curtain wire ;-) When I was looking for the wire in The Shed I came across a pack of white plastic shower curtain hanging rings, so I have hung every other light from one of said rings and hooked it over the wire. Good thinking, yes??

I'm rather thinking that I may well keep the net curtain wire up there after Christmas and hang something pretty from it, just to soften the starkness of the doorway :-) I've got lots of net curtaining I could shorten for the job, not to mention those two fabric flower garlands which were previously in the master bedroom. Naturally, my loves, I will show you whatever I decide in the end to do.



These are all pretty awful photos, I know *sigh*

We have quite a small house and to be honest, there really isn't very much space available for anything other than a small tree to be. Even then, I have to rearrange my ornaments to set it up LOL

I know that some folk like to have a 'theme' for their tree but our's is a simple mix 'n' match assortment of all sorts of decorations :-) Some of them are vintage ones which I have bought, some are vintage which I've been given and the rest are 'modern' ones which I've bought over the years that Adrian and I have been together. Most years, I buy one or two new ornaments but in deference to The Challenge I will try to restrain myself this year ;-) I knew that the pretty angel was way too big for the tree when I bought her after Christmas last year, but knew that she would look just as lovely standing beneath it :-)

I have another little tree which does have a 'theme' of sorts; I use it to display my collection of wooden decorations. It usually goes in the dining room, but I'm not sure if I will get round to putting it up this year. If I do, though, I will take a photo to show you ~ let's hope that it comes out better than these LOL



This is the best of my efforts to photograph the tree when the fairy lights are on ~ so you can just imagine what the other photos looked like!


This cute little pom-pom robin belonged to Adrian's Nan. He always sits at the top of the tree, just beneath the Star :-)

The Thursday Poem


Young Woman Reading by a Window by Delphin Enjolras


The Clothesline

A clothesline was a news forecast
To neighbors passing by.
There were no secrets you could keep
When clothes were hung to dry.

It also was a friendly link
For neighbors always knew
If company had stopped on by
To spend a night or two.

For then you’d see the fancy sheets
And towels on the line;
You’d see the company table cloths
With intricate design.

The line announced a baby’s birth
To folks who lived inside
As brand new infant clothes were hung
So carefully with pride.

The ages of the children could
So readily be known
By watching how the sizes changed
You’d know how much they’d grown.

It also told when illness struck,
As extra sheets were hung;
Then nightclothes, and a bathrobe, too,
Haphazardly were strung.

It said, “Gone on vacation now”
When lines hung limp and bare.
It told, “We’re back!” when full lines sagged
With not an inch to spare.

New folks in town were scorned upon
If wash was dingy gray,
As neighbors raised their brows,
And looked disgustedly away.

But clotheslines now are of the past
For dryers make work less.
Now what goes on inside a home
Is anybody’s guess.

I really miss that way of life.
It was a friendly sign
When neighbors knew each other best
By what hung on the line!

Marilyn K Walker

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Have you ever made something.....



.....with no clear idea of what you are going to do ~ it just sort of 'happens'?? I ended up with this little bag, sweetie~pies and have no idea what I am going to do with it!

I rather like to be working on something when I'm sat watching TV in the evening, as I don't feel quite so lazy ;-) Although I'm still working on my
'granny triangle' shawl, some days I just feel like doing something different. So, my loves, I started to idly crochet some granny squares in this pretty lilac cotton yarn ~ then found myself wondering what on earth to do with them, since I had only just enough yarn to make eight squares! I had a little think and came to the conclusion that I might get inspired if I made the squares a teensy wee bit larger, so I promptly added a cream border......

.....then I looked at them for a while longer, still not knowing quite where I was going with this latest project! It seemed like a sensible idea to sew the squares together, though.....after which I found myself looking at two, larger, squares and realising that the only logical conclusion to make was that I would have to turn them into either a cushion or a bag. Since I would have to make a cushion pad to fit the squares, I went down the path of least resistence ~ and made a bag LOL


It's still hanging on the cupboard where I photographed it and it just doesn't look 'finished', somehow, sweetie~pies. I believe that this bag needs a lining (the ideal solution, methinks, to keeping everything in the bag rather than falling out through the spaces in the granny squares!) and this would be a rather lovely gentle way to embark on my friendship with Miss Sadie~Marie Sewing-Machine, don't you think :-)

I shall inspect this little bag again for 'finished-ness' once it has said lining safely in position ;-)

Prayer for World Peace


Dove of Peace ~ Giclee print


We pray to the great Spiritual Power in which we live and move and have our being.
We pray that we may at all times keep our minds open to new ideas and shun dogma;
that we may grow in our understanding of the nature of all living beings and our connectedness with the natural world;
that we may become ever more filled with generosity of spirit and true compassion and love for all life;
that we may strive to heal the hurts that we have inflicted on nature and control our greed for material things, knowing that our actions are harming our natural world and the future of our children;
that we may value each and every human being for who he is, for who she is, reaching to the spirit that is within, knowing the power of each individual to change the world.

We pray for social justice, for the alleviation of the crippling poverty that condemns millions of people around the world to lives of misery - hungry, sick, and utterly without hope.
We pray for the children who are starving, who are condemned to homelessness, slave labour, prostitution, and especially for those forced to fight, to kill and torture even members of their own family.
We pray for the victims of violence and war, for those wounded in body and for those wounded in mind.
We pray for the multitudes of refugees, forced from their homes to alien places through war or through the utter destruction of their environment.

We pray for suffering animals everywhere, for an end to the pain caused by scientific experimentation, intensive farming, fur farming, shooting, trapping, training for entertainment, abusive pet owners, and all other forms of exploitation such as overloading and overworking pack animals, bull fighting, badger baiting, dog and cock fighting and so many more.

We pray for an end to cruelty, whether to humans or other animals, for an end to bullying, and torture in all its forms.
We pray that we may learn the peace that comes with forgiving and the strength we gain in loving;
that we may learn to take nothing for granted in this life;
that we may learn to see and understand with our hearts;
that we may learn to rejoice in our being.

We pray for these things with humility;
We pray because of the hope that is within us, and because of a faith in the ultimate triumph of the human spirit;
We pray because of our love for Creation, and because of our trust in God.
We pray, above all, for peace throughout the world.

prayer for world peace ~ dr jane goodall

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Amber loves Piggy



I know, I know, yet another photo of the pooch ~ but I just can't help myself :-)

Friday, 10 December 2010

Last-minute birthday cards ~ and lucky me!



Two friends have birthdays this week and so on Wednesday I duly trotted over to the cupboard where I keep my stash of cards ~ only to discover that I didn't actually have any stash left *eeeeek* A state of mild panic set in, sweetie~pies, because one of those friends had her birthday yesterday!

However, I took a deep breath, counted to ten ~ and set to work making the cards myself. I've only made one or two cards previously so this is another new and exciting little avenue for your's truly to explore. Plus, of course, it fits very nicely with The Challenge ;-)



I'm pleased with how they have turned out ~ and so glad that I had card-making supplies lurking in my craft stash! I think I would have enjoyed the process slightly more had I not been in such a hurry, though. The lesson, methinks, is to have regular card-making sessions so that I always have a handy-dandy supply ;-)



I'm a happy bunny, my loves, because this gorgeous wrap is mine! And not only is it really pretty, the fabric is wonderfully soft, too.

One of Adrian's work colleagues has recently been to India with his wife, visiting relatives over there. They brought back wraps for all the ladies in the office ~ and lucky gal that I am, I was included too!

As you already know, I love shawls and wraps and this has made a lovely addition to my little collection :-)

Thursday, 9 December 2010

A beautiful new day.....



Morning has broken
Like the first morning,
Black bird has spoken
Like the first bird.
Praise for the singing!
Praise for the morning!
Praise for them springing
Fresh from the Word!

Sweet the rain's new fall
Sunlit from heaven,
Like the first dewfall
On the first grass.
Praise for the sweetness
Of the wet garden,
Sprung in completeness
Where His feet pass.

Mine is the sunlight!
Mine is the morning.
Born of the one light
Eden saw play!
Praise with elation,
Praise ev'ry morning,
God's recreation
Of the new day!

Eleanor Farjeon
(13th February 1881 – 5th June 1965)

Birke Baehr: What's wrong with our food system


From the mouths of babes, eh.....

The Thursday Poem


Young Woman Reading by a Window by Delphin Enjolras


From Cymbeline
Act IV Scene ii

Gui Fear no more the heat o' the sun,
Nor the furious winter's rages,
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages.
Golden lads, and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers come to dust.

Arv Fear no more the frown o' th' great,
Thou art past the tyrant's stroke,
Care no more to clothe and eat,
To thee the reed is as the oak;
The sceptre, learning, physic must
All follow this and come to dust

Gui Fear no more the lightning flash,
Arv Nor th' all-dreaded thunderstone.
Gui Fear no slander, censure rash.
Arv Thou hast finish'd joy and moan.
Both All lovers young, all lovers must,
Consign to thee and come to dust.

Gui No exorciser harm thee,
Arv Nor no witch-craft charm thee.
Gui Ghost unlaid forbear thee.
Arv Nothing ill come near thee.
Both Quiet consummation have,
And renowned be thy grave.


William Shakespeare
(23rd April 1564 - 23rd April 1616)

from the book: Poem for the Day One

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Please pray for my friend, D, who is gravely ill.....




Dear Lord,

You know D so much better than I do. You know her sickness and the burden she carries. You also know her heart.

Lord, I ask you to be with D now, working in her life. Let your will be done in D's life. If there is a sin that needs to be confessed and forgiven, Lord, please help her to see her need and confess.

Lord, I pray for my friend D because your Word says I should pray for her healing. I believe you hear this earnest prayer from my heart and that it is powerful because of your promise. I have faith in you to heal D, but I also trust in the plan you have for her life.

Lord, I don't always understand your ways, and why D has to suffer, but I trust you. I ask that you look with mercy and grace toward her. Nourish her spirit and soul in this time of suffering and comfort her with your presence. Let D know you are there with her through this difficulty.

And may you be glorified in her life and also in mine.

Amen

(adapted from a prayer on about.com)


Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:30-31

My Dream Wardrobe!




Ha ~ I bet you were thinking ~ or perhaps, perish the thought, hoping ;-) ~ that I had forgotten about my promise t'other day to inflict the wardrobe of my dreams upon you, sweetie~pies! But fear not because you are in luck, my loves ~ here I am, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to start rambling away once more ;-P

So, after oodles of profound consideration which has ~ naturally ~ necessitated copious amounts of tea consumption, I've discovered that what I am really drawn to are feminine, pretty clothes and, it must be admitted, somewhat old-fashioned styles. I love frills, ruffles, lace and bows.....mix-and-match layers.....sweet pastel shades (although that isn't to say that I'm totally opposed to deeper shades).....quirky and unusual combinations.....Crocs and little girl-style footwear.....socks and leggings.....coloured opaque tights.....polka dots and florals.....soft, gently draping fabric.....flippy skirts and dresses.....old-lady cardigans.....pinafore dresses and aprons.....big snuggly warm cardigans pretending to be jackets and coats.....ladylike hats, coats and jackets.....I could go on but I'm quite sure that by now you have a very good idea of just what it is that I like!

There now, sweetie~pies, learning the nitty gritty details of my dream wardrobe wasn't really so bad, was it ;-)

Rather depressingly, though, when I compare my dream wardrobe with what is currently lurking in my real-life cupboards and drawers, there really is very little that matches up *sigh* A sure sign, don't you think my loves, of my steadfast efforts over the years at attempting to draw as little attention to myself as possible. Of course, as we all know, that is a task most definitely doomed to failure because it is really quite impossible to hide a lady of such ample proportions as myself ~ unless I could somehow procure a Harry Potter cloak of invisibility!

However, during my recent tea-drinking ponderings, a little thought rather unexpectedly landed in my head and quite rapidly took root. If it is so very difficult to blend into the background.....then why even bother??? Why not simply wear-what-the-heck-I-like and give the world something prettier than my usual garb to look at??? And with being the big, beautiful woman that I am, that would most certainly be a whole lot of prettiness to behold don't you think :-)

Of course, we all know, don't we sweetie~pies, that there is actually a solution to the thorny issue of my not-inconsiderable bulk. After yet more tea-guzzling, though, I have decided that I won't discuss that particular topic at the moment. But watch this space because I can feel a post beginning to bubble away in the deep, dark depths of my mind.....

In the meantime then, shall we head back to my dream wardrobe my loves?? Yes?? Okie dokie, off we go then :-)

Right then, now that we are back here at dream wardrobe central, I think it's time for another cup of tea whilst I have a think about what to do with the clothes I have to make them more like the clothes I would prefer to have. I believe that the answer, my loves, is to be found by making friends with Miss Sadie~Marie ~ my new and as-yet-unused sewing-machine. I do feel that I should tell you, though, that up to now my experience of actually getting to grips with a such a piece of machinery is extremely limited. Thus far in my life, I have made a skirt out of red crimpelene fabric (which took a whole school year to complete and which I never wore!) and a pair of curtains for the shop my sister had at one time ~ which were just a couple of simple rectangles with curtain-header tape sewn across the top! In the circumstances, sweetie~pies, I do believe it would be quite fair to describe your's truly as a novice sewing-maching user ;-)

Still, the only way to learn how to sew is by actually doing it (oh, what words of wisdom I do spout at times!) *gulp* And, of course let's not forget that there is also The Challenge which must be taken into account ~ which most definitely means that I shall have to prettify the clothes I already own.

I sincerely hope that Miss Sadie~Marie and I are about to embark on a wonderfully kind, gentle and loving relationship. You can rest assured that I will be sharing with you the end result of our combined efforts as each new creation comes along.....even if it is absolutely hideous!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Some pretty little things and treasures.....



.....in the master bedroom ~ as promised yesterday :-)

Jane is a very lucky dolly indeed, my loves, as she has a cupboard of her very own for all her clothes!



I have a small collection of hat pins but no hat pin holder ~ so what's a girl to do??? Why, improvise with a pretty china pomander of course, and fill it with dried lavender so that it smells good, too :-)



I'm sorry that some of these photos haven't come out terribly well ~ perhaps it was because I was so tired. Well, that's my excuse and I'm sticking with it ;-)



Isadora and Constance really like living in 'angel corner'. It is a very calm and peaceful space :-)



'Angel corner'.


Josephine and Flora.

The bed canopy curtains previously had 'proper' tasselled curtain tie-backs which were nice but much too big really. I remembered that I had two long faux pearl necklaces which I seldom wear, and thought that they would make ideal 'tie-backs' instead. I simply double twisted each necklace to make two strands, looped them round the curtains and hung them over the hooks. I think they look very pretty and much more in keeping with the delicate lace curtains :-)


Charlotte and Nina.


This cigarette box belonged to my Grandfather ~ my Dad's father. I never knew him as he died when Dad was only four years old. It is nice to have a link back to him :-)



I've been meaning to upload this photo for absolutely ages! This is the glass dish from which Adrian drew the winner of my recent giveaway. It lives in the living room, not the master bedroom, but I just wanted to show you the pretty little silver lady in the bottom of the dish :-)