Friday 1 July 2022

Wanderings Lately :: April & May 2022

I offer this post, sat in my drafts for 2 years, with no great explanations. I would like to commit to writing regularly again, or at least publishing some (or all?) of the 13 posts I have in draft. But I should avoid making commitments I cannot keep.

Maybe I will be able to post a few updates here and there this year. We'll see...

Local bluebell woods.

Progress from 2022 to our utility room. It's now in a usable condition, and almost completely finished.

The cat, looking cute (and grumpy).

Some pictures from a short trip to Naples with family, we visited Pompeii, ate a lot of pizza and drank many aperols.

When our car was brand new and I was trying to take an arty photo.

Big mess from our bathroom renovation. With a lot of stress, it was finally finished and is an improvement but we certainly learnt a lot from this experience.

The dark clouds are threatening above here, but I was so chuffed to finally have an outside washing line.

Frida looking after my wedding bouquet.

Beautiful weather for hot cross buns and mowing the lawn.

Back when our chiminea wasn't full on rusty and falling apart.

Sheer joy when the cat briefly sat on my lap.

The view from a short walk I did during a work trip to Cumberland Lodge. That's the long walk towards Windsor Castle.

A new cover for my greenhouse, which has since disintegrated and the poles have rusted. I've replaced this greenhouse with a wooden one from Aldi.

Saturday 23 April 2022

Wanderings Lately :: January, February and March 2022

Recap of the first three months of this year; We spent New Year in Scotland which was lovely, then back to Surrey to work on the house. We powered through two days straight painting the living room which was well worth it. I joined a local 6 week gym taster challenge which encouraged me to get out of the house to try and reach a 10k step goal (which I still rarely reached), and mum and I went to The Swan at Shakespeare's globe for afternoon tea.

February; my birthday month! We got a rescue cat! Sootica is at this point now the queen of the house but back in February on that first day she came out of the carry bag and hid under the chair. I managed to coax her out with some treats eventually but she was incredibly timid at first. She's now very confident and has spent the whole night outside a couple of times! We also had our wardrobes delivered and built in February which made a huge difference to our bedroom, we had the small bedroom plastered and my mum came over to help paint it. So I've got my home office back again. And for my birthday Victor took me to Duck and Waffle for breakfast, I have wanted to go for such a long time and it didn't disappoint. The view was great and we were really lucky with the weather so could see for miles. I really enjoyed my food - I had poached egg with avocado and crab on my waffle.

and March - finally Spring is coming. We were able to take advantage of having a garden finally, there was a week of fantastic weather which meant we could cut the grass and finally cut back the bamboo at the back of the garden. I planted some seeds I bought from the supermarket and had lunch outside a few days in a row. We also finally did some small jobs around the house - putting up the kitchen blind, fitting a lock to the bathroom door and putting up my spice rack. Quite small jobs but they made a big difference. We're making slow but steady process in making this house a home.

Thursday 21 April 2022

Wedding DIY: Crochet Bouquet and other flowers

When we were planning our wedding, I was conscious to try and avoid some of the wasteful elements that are deemed 'essential'. Especially since everything for a wedding is so incredibly expensive already. For flowers, I knew what aesthetic I was going for, having a clear memory of loving the flowers that my friend Anita had at her wedding [in August 2015]. 

Some thoughts I had about flowers and waste, was the possibility of 'resusable' flowers out of felt. There were a few places where I found templates for felt flowers: a thistle, a rose, some eucalyptus. Cutting these by hand with scissors, was possible but took SO LONG that it wasn't going to be feasible to do this for the table arrangements. I did try and invest in a (second hand) cricut machine to help with this, but in the end the version I bought wasn't able to cut felt and I just couldn't justify the most expensive version which would do the job just for the flowers. 

On my internet search quest for felt bouquets, I saw a few crocheted flowers which I thought I'd give a go. I bought a pattern from etsy that turned out to be far too difficult for a beginner, but I came across these videos where the lady takes you through the entire process. This I could copy and after a few tries, I got the hang of it. Also her voice was very soft and soothing which was good for all the times when mistakes got frustrating!

Since all the wedding planning was happening during lockdown(s), I had plenty of time every evening in front of the TV to crochet rose petals. Each rose takes 9 petals, plus a sepal and stem. I decided to just crochet for my own bouquet since it was going to take quite a while to make enough stems. I was so pleased with the end result, and glad that this is something I can keep forever. On the day I added some soft ruscus greenery and baby's breath alongside the roses and bound everything with jute string.

Another potentially wasteful element (and unnecessary expense) was confetti. We were actually not allowed to throw anything outside our church, and could use only natural confetti at the venue. So over the year until the big day, I saved petals whenever I had cut flowers in the house - and so did my mum, her neighbours and anyone else we could cajole! We had a huge basketful for the wedding day, plenty for all guests and it didn't cost us anything additional! I'm still not out of the habit of wanting to save petals from any flowers we have in the house since the wedding.

And for the table decorations, I couldn't manage the felt flowers but I still went with DIY and collected lots of jars of various sizes and some tonic bottles - which my mum spray painted blue. These were all wrapped around with tartan ribbon for decoration. I bought the DIY flower box in blue and lilac from triangle nursery which was great value. They offered an online consultation which was immensely helpful for planning how each table arrangement would look and how to organise the preparation. I would really recommend their service for anyone brave enough to DIY!

It was so easy to dry the petals, and a good money saver. Probably not a huge saving but every little helps!

I was pleased with these thistles but they were just far too labour intensive to be worthwhile.

Crochet practise, total beginner...

This was the first rose I made, which wasn't make properly to plan and had a lot more petals than later versions. Plus I didn't bother to make the leaves for the bouquet because they were a big faff, and actually the leaves are removed anyway from fresh roses.

Once I got into the flow, it became quite a therapeutic activity in the evenings and the finished roses were quite impressive.

Making the final white roses; all the petals, floristry tape and a glue gun!

The bouquet on the day - some people didn't even realise these were not fresh!

I was pleased with how the table decorations turned out; a handmade effort which was pretty and added nice touches without being over the top.