Sunday 22 December 2013

Christmas greetings....

I think I am all done.

The Christmas tree was decorated in record time this year.... Lights and decorations thrown on with one eye on pup playing with the empty boxes.

The Trumpeting angel is in place...

Presents hastily wrapped,

Guest beds made and ready for visitors from London and America.

Parisian girl will be celebrating with her school friend who also works in Paris, several French friends and her school friend's parents and dog who will be travelling all the way from Northumberland. 
I think it is going be a tight squeeze in her Paris apartment on Christmas Day... But I'm sure it will be great fun for them all!

Our freezer is standing by with Waitrose reduced bargains, the treat cupboard is full of nuts, crisps, nibbles, chocolates, and my favourite from Aldi...


Italian nougat with hazelnuts and pistachios... Totally moreish.
I think I may have emptied the shelf in our local store... The last three boxes were swiftly popped in my basket and I haven't seen anymore back on the shelves.
If you find any grab it quick.

Wishing all those who read my blog and to those who are kind enough to leave comments...

A big Merry Christmas from me and my new best friend...

Gorgeous Ottie xxxx

Friday 20 December 2013

Christmas shopping is cancelled ...

At the moment. 

Because a chance meeting and conversation with a friend in TKMaxx resulted in a life changing decision for us...

"Do you know anyone who wants a labrador puppy? "


But which one? No chocolates in the litter so decision made.

This one.

8 weeks old and a little sweetie at the moment. Getting more adventurous as she settles in...

As her kennel name is taken from the salmon pools of the River North Tyne in Northumberland it seemed fairly appropriate to call her Otter.... Or Ottie 
A country girl from A Northumberland Farm near the River Tyne.

3 days now and it's like having a baby all over again...sleeping... And not sleeping.

But she is a clever girl and is getting the hang of her routine already.

Currently zonked out on the sisal mat with chewed edges .....head under the radiator in the kitchen to my shoes..

I know it is not as attractive as an AGA,  but she likes to play there next to the warmth..... The living room and the stove are out of bounds at the moment until she realises it is hot and not to be explored.... Also the zebra skin on the floor with mane and tail would be too exciting and perfect for chewing.

So if you don't receive a card or present this Christmas's because I am otherwise engaged!

Julie x

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Work, rest and play....

These arrived one Friday evening in the dark, on two enormous pallets....all the way from Farmhouse Flagstones in Gloucestershire. They are authentic reproductions of old flagstones, the moulds taken from Old Mill floors...

With all the riven, worn, scored marks of time, but with a regular thickness for comparatively easy laying.

Saying that, the big ones are so heavy and lifting them into place onto the adhesive without jamming fingers is an art in itself!

So the next day with the oak furniture pushed to one side... ( Not ideal for floor laying I know, but there is nowhere to put it at the moment. )

quick layout of the random rows and off we went.

Heavy work, but it certainly works well now running into the stone walls.... There will be no skirting boards, just lime pointing at the edges.

Even the Scary Lady in the old lime plastered, blocked doorway seems to approve of her new floor.

Working from the fireplace towards the kitchen door....

Looking the other way towards the big inglenook with the original, old Bastle doorway we discovered when we opened the fireplace.

Now grouted and sealed they look like an old floor but with the luxury of underfloor heating.....can't wait to switch it on and feel the gentle warmth in my stockinged feet!

Yesterday afternoon we went to lime plaster the big fireplace wall... Messy job but it has certainly accentuated the wonky stone surround.

Little helper was in her element... Dustpan brush, cloths, trowel.... Far more attractive than silly dog toys. 

Such hard work deserves a well earned sleep in a makeshift banana box bed next to the stove. 

I think she is growing in her sleep....

Julie x

Thursday 12 December 2013

Bring in the old....

A new piece of furniture for the kitchen arrived yesterday... Unpolished, water stained feet from the washing of floors, old ring marks and rusty hinges, but I love it!

An unusual Victorian baking table, with a large flap that lifts up and is supported by two lovely legs.

The big plank of wood creates a substantial table for working from and I think it will make an ideal, extra buffet table for Christmas.

With worn, tapered feet,

And worn stretchers.

The perfect place for a rustic display of hyacinth bulbs in old cake tins,

And a carved wooden lamp base with a lampshade made from a piece of striped, linen mangle cloth.

It works well too with the old pine dresser I bought a couple of years ago...they both have the same patina of old pine.

Easy on the eye and timeless.

I know pine in years gone by was always painted, but I do like this bleached, unpolished look...

Which brings me to my new bête noir.

I think I may be tiring of painted furniture.

Is it me... Or does It seem that every Tom, Dick and Harriet is doing "Shabby Chic" these days?

Everything is getting a coat of Annie...
Some good... Some very bad.

What do you think?

Julie x