Tuesday 31 December 2013

goodbye december

And so year end.  Twelve garden moodboards.  Our garden has taken a battering from the almost relentless wind and rain.  The playhouse took flight in spectacular fashion on one particularly gusty morning, but has been rescued.  

The trees are skeletal, bare branches stripped of their leaves and bending obediently to the winds strength. The evergreen holly and ivy are virtually the only greenery in the garden.  Some of the bare tree branches are covered in beautiful mint and mustard coloured lichen.  Like little jackets providing warmth against the bitter cold.

December has been a month of two halves for me.  So busy in the run up to Christmas with fun filled festive activities, nativity plays, visiting Father Christmas, Christmas markets and visiting family and friends.  And now a time for rest.  I got a special festive treat this year.  Shingles. Not exactly what I wanted, as you might imagine.  But we had a great Christmas despite it.  

We spent Christmas Day at home, the five of us, taking things at our own pace, our own rhythm.  It was lovely.  My in laws spent Boxing Day with us and tomorrow we are going to my parents for dinner.  

I am feeling a lot better and hope to be well mended very soon. 

Linking up as always with Karin and Asa

Tuesday 24 December 2013

merry christmas

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy new year.  I'm off to bed.  I'm sure I just heard sleigh bells.

Tuesday 17 December 2013

nature in the home: garlands

Linking up with Lou for her nature in the home series.  I am really late for this weeks theme of garlands but I think I might just have made it.

My garland couldn't be simpler, a string of popcorn.  Golden kernels popped in oil and strung on strong thread.  I used a large sharp needle but I intend to make more garlands with the little ones and will use blunt tapestry needles so they can have a go too.

I imagine it will be a lovely way to spend an afternoon, happily threading and chatting with a ready made snack within easy reach.  Providing we can avoid any puncture wounds.

The garland I made has been draped on our tree and is looking pretty against the red and green.  They make a lovely decoration for the mantel too.

As you probably know by now, I love birds.  I grew up watching my granny ensure that there was always food left out for them in winter.  Continuing this tradition, we will make more popcorn garlands for our feathered friends to hang from the branches of the birch trees in the garden.  A treat for hungry birds in the cold.

Seed cakes are another seasonal make and are a great way to help the birds through the cold frosty days.

Do you feed the birds?

Wednesday 11 December 2013


Just a quick hello after an impromptu blogging break.  There is no real reason for my lack of posts.  I have been busy with festive commitments and planning. Sometimes life takes over a little.

So this year I have opted for a very gentle Christmas.  I cheated a little and got ahead by sorting Father Christmas last month so have largely ignored the mad rush which seems to have taken hold lately.

We are keeping it simple this year.  Family, friends and good food, the things that have brought us much pleasure throughout the year.

We put our tree up last weekend and the little ones decorated it.  Amazingly I haven't rearranged a single bauble.

I am really looking forward to the school nativities next week.  The little fairy will be Mary in her playschool performance.  She is very excited.

I'm off now to find suitable attire for two shepherds.  Now where did I stash those new tea towels?

Tuesday 3 December 2013

goodbye november

Late.  But better late than never.  Eleven months of garden moodboards.  Only one more to complete a year.

November has been busy.  Time has raced by.  The lack of daylight has meant more cosy days by the fire. We have spent many happy hours outdoors but are thankful to get back indoors to the warm.

The garden is slowing down, preparing for its long sleep over winter.  The lawn is littered with thousands of leaves.  Brown, yellow, orange and red.  A beautiful carpet on dry days.  Green features on the evergreens around the garden, a welcome reminder that spring and all its glorious colour is not too far away.

So for now, my moodboard for November.  A collection of leaves gathered in the garden.  A display of vibrant colour.  Sometimes decay can be quite beautiful.

Linking up as always with Karin and Asa.

Saturday 30 November 2013

golden light

Today was a gorgeous day, bright and breezy and oh so cold.  Perfect for wrapping up and having a play outdoors.  After lunch we drove to Smiths Strand, a lough shore beach close to where we live for some fresh air and an explore.

Mr F and I had a lot of fun regaling our little ones with stories of how we both visited this beach as children with our parents.  Independently of course.  We didn't meet until many years later.  It feels special to give our children the same experiences we had when we were little.

The light was beautiful turning all it touched golden.  The sun was low in the sky and already much of where we played was in shade but when the sun shone it was magical.  It has been so grey here lately we really appreciated this reprieve.

After a while we were sufficiently numb to call it a day and head home.  Back to relax by the fire.

Tonight I will be welcoming 'Mrs Christmas' back for the countdown to Christmas. The little ones can't wait. Wishing you all a cosy weekend.


I love the colours in the pictures I took today.  The combination of blues, greys and yellows is one of my favourites.

Sunday 24 November 2013

nature in the home: autumn

Linking up with Lou for nature in the home.  An autumn posy gathered from the hedge in our garden, displayed in a old tin given to me by a family friend.  The foliage and berries are a pretty complement to the tin.

Apologies, as is usual for this season, grainy photographs on grey days.


Wednesday 20 November 2013

lady luck

Have you ever experienced a run of exceptionally good luck.  I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I've been especially lucky.  I am delighted to have won not one, not two but three gorgeous blog giveaways.

So, in an effort to spread the luck and love I will be organising a little giveaway here soon.

In the meantime I just wanted to say a big thank you for my gorgeous gifts.  To Lou and Eloise for the gorgeous print and pouch.  Like many of you I really enjoy reading Lou's lovely blog and have admired Eloise's artwork forever. Her cloud print will be happily adorning my bedroom wall.

Blue Clouds, limited edition giclee print

To Dawn for the postcards and calendar featuring her beautiful photographs. Dawn's blog at home with red features more of her stunning still life photography available in her shop.  Pop over to see her.  You won't regret it.

And to Jane for this perfect print.  Jane has designed a new range of wonderful art prints for her etsy shop littleteawagon.  I was delighted to receive this one.  The little boy reminds me of my own pair of boys.  I can't wait to get it framed and on the wall.

Poster - Boy and Kite  A3 Art Print

How lucky am I?

I have waited and waited for a bright day to take my own photos but general greyness meant I had to give up.  All photos link back to their original sources.


Thursday 14 November 2013

nature in the home: autumn

I've really missed Lou's nature in the home series and was delighted it returned again for autumn and winter. However, I have been a little distracted lately, so this is my first contribution this time around.

Leaves from the virginia creeper which weaves its way up and across the front of our house.  I love the heart shaped leaves and vibrant red colour.  The leaves are becoming sparse, blowing around our drive so I gathered a handful and brought them indoors.

I taped them to a door in the shape of a heart.  It makes me smile every time I go into the hall.  I'm so glad I rescued a few before they are all blown away.

Joining in with the lovely Lou for nature in the home.

Wednesday 6 November 2013


Mid-term, easy days spent relaxing and enjoying the freedom from school and schedules.  I relished the break from routine, timed perfectly for when we seemed to really need it.

Halloween was a lot of fun.

There were play dates with friends,
a visit to Florence Court for the Halloween Fest, 
spending most days accompanied by a little vampire, skeleton and witch,
cosying up with popcorn and films by the fire when it was too cold to go out,
baking, baking, baking ... lemon drizzle, jam sponge, fairy cakes,
oohing and aahing at the firework display on Halloween night,
long country walks on bright days.

I really love this time of year.


My photos are a random collection taken over the last week.  I have been using a camera which I really dislike.  The picture quality is hit and miss, so I am now even more determined to make an effort to use my DSLR as much as possible.


Friday 1 November 2013

goodbye october

October is gone but certainly won't be forgotten.  It has been a stormy month, in more ways than one. The days have passed in a blur for the most part but things are calming now.

I'm looking forward to November, a month to cosy up, building energy reserves for the pandemonium ahead.

The garden is slowing down, though the general mildness of October has encouraged more grass growth.  I can't quite believe we are still mowing the lawn. 

The berries are still plentiful.  There hasn't been a cold snap to entice our feathered friends to strip the branches of their bounty.  All in good time, I wager.

My moodboard looks sparse this month.  Just a few colours.  I am particularly taken with the burgundy and green of the elderberries.  Nature really does produce the best colour palettes.

Linking up Karin and Asa.

Wednesday 30 October 2013

great big stitched postcard swap: celebrate

First things first, thank you all so much for your well wishes for our little man.  He has bounced back to health and will be returning to school after mid term break and we are so relieved.

A few weeks ago on instagram I found a link to the Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap organised by Do What You Love for Life.

"The Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap is a global swap of stitched postcard love, where people across the world make a postcard-sized piece of art using any materials they like. The only rules are that it needs to include some kind of stitching, and it needs to fit with that quarter’s swap theme."

As I love happy mail, I didn't hesitate in signing up.  The theme was celebrate so after being assigned my swap partner, it was time to get creative and make my postcard.

I loved playing around with different ideas and really enjoyed creating my postcard.  I sometimes become a little paralysed by uncertainty.  Will my partner like what I make, is it good enough but this time I just took the bull by the horns, didn't overthink it and made this.

I love nature and in particular all things floral, and as autumn had just arrived I thought 'celebrate every bloom' was an apt choice.  A reminder to cherish every flower before winter sets in.

I used origami paper, painted cotton and scrap booking paper for my card, drawing the blooms with ink and pencil.  I then used machine stitches for the border around the words and added bunting for a hit of happy.

I parcelled it up and popped it in the post to Julia my swap partner.

I was fairly pleased with my efforts but after visiting the Flickr group I felt a bit amateur.  There are some really beautiful tiny works of art.  You should take a look.

Swaps like these are always creative, fun and bring much happiness.  I was delighted to receive this beautiful postcard from Julia.  I love it!  I think I might have lucked out on this one.

The Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap was a whole lot of fun.  I'm looking forward to the next one.  What about you, are you tempted?

Thursday 24 October 2013

saturday stitching

With the weather forecast promising a weekend of rain and wind I decided to play with some pretty fabric, needle and thread.  The perfect way to spend a stormy Saturday.

I chose some fabrics to make a bunting for my baby nephew, a cute train print and a yellow geometric fabric.

The bunting is double sided and has seven triangles.  The applique letters were cut from felt and hand stitched on before making up the triangles.  I used some cream coloured bias binding to attach the flags.

I loved making the bunting but I think I've had much more fun dangling it from various walls, door frames, the stairs, trying to get a half decent picture. Bunting is a nightmare to photograph.

Now I need to parcel the bunting up and deliver it over the weekend.  I'm hoping to get some baby cuddles in exchange.  Not a bad deal, I think.

Apologies for my disappearance lately.  We have had a stressful few days since Sunday.  Our second little man has been very ill resulting in a stay in children's ward.  We are home now and he is on the mend thankfully.

So I will eventually get round to catching up with your lovely blogs.  Wishing you all a happy weekend.

Wednesday 16 October 2013

52 weeks of happy (51/52 & 52/52)

So the last of my posts for 52 weeks of happy.  I have loved this series created by the lovely Jen at little birdie.

It all started over a year ago with these simple words,

'the happiest people don't have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything'

We have had many happy days and moments lately and two special celebrations. Our nine year wedding anniversary and a little ones sixth birthday.

Spending time with friends and family, enjoying good food and whiling away the hours outdoors has brought much happiness these past few weeks.  In fact, this seems to be a pattern in my happy things over the last year.  Those simple things are what we appreciate most as a family and for that I am so, so glad.

It has been wonderful to record the many things which might easily have been forgotten in the everyday buzz of family life.  All those moments of happiness which make the everyday special are worth remembering.

So thank you Jen for your wonderful idea.  You are brilliant. And, also thank you for reading and commenting on my happy posts.  I loved hearing what you had to say and reading all your thoughts.

I have decided that I won't continue with 52 weeks for another year but I do want to find a way to remember the happy moments I hope to encounter soon.

So on that note, that's all for now folks.  Nothing left to do but send happy vibes your way.

Monday 7 October 2013


Today our little man celebrated his sixth birthday.

Our adorable little boy is another year older.

We love him so very, very much.  The life and soul of our family.  Full of fun, mischief and an amazing sense of humour.  He is adored by all.  His perfectly cheeky grin is his passport into unsuspecting hearts.

We are so proud of our beautiful boy who arrived into the world at great speed and who continues to bound around with endless energy.

You are cherished little one. 

Sunday 6 October 2013

weekending: 52 weeks of happy (50/52)

What a truly beautiful October weekend we've had.  The sun has shone and we have been busy, busy, busy.

I had been wishing this weekend away as I raced around preparing for all our plans but thankfully I slowed down and took time to enjoy all it brought.

On Saturday, I made a lampshade at a workshop I went to with a friend.  After, we had lunch, a good natter and visited a craft collective's pop-up shop.  All in all, a very lovely day.

When I got home, Mr F, the little ones and I popped out to Florence Court for a walk.  We spotted signs of autumn everywhere.  Leaves on the turn, horse chestnuts beneath the trees and an abundance of berries weighing down the branches.

The little ones kicked up the leaves, collected shiny conkers and played in the park.

And today, we went to the christening of my gorgeous little nephew.

Quite the whirlwind and it doesn't end there.  Tomorrow is the birthday of our second little man and on Wednesday we celebrate our nineth wedding anniversary.

So we have had lots of happiness here.  Linking up with the lovely Jen for the 50th week of 52 weeks of happy.

Monday 30 September 2013

goodbye september

September has been lovely, the perfect start to autumn.  Bright days, sunshine and cloudless skies with occasional light rain.

It has been breezier.  Fresher winds herald colder times but our cold season will be shortened by every dry, mild autumn day.  I'm hoping they stay around for a while.

Our garden blooms have all but disappeared.  The leaves are beginning to turn and fall from the trees.  We will soon have a carpet of browns, oranges, rusts and reds.

Almost every shrub and tree in the garden are covered in jewel coloured berries. Deep purple elderberries, red hawthorn, bird cherries, honeysuckle and orange rosehips.

All sorts of fungi pop up overnight.  The most amazing colours and shapes.  I have no idea which are edible mushrooms so I regard them all with uncertainty. I won't be adding them to mealtimes any time soon.

I have lovely memories of collecting mushrooms in the fields on our farm with my granny years ago. Gathering them in a wicker basket and chatting as we went. Probably why I still have a fascination with all manner of fungi.  It's a shame that her knowledge is gone now.

As always linking up with Karin and Asa.

Thursday 26 September 2013

52 weeks of happy (48/52 & 49/52)

Two more weeks gone, so close to a year now.  My happy things for 52 weeks of happy.

Beautiful autumn skies.  Autumn is my favourite time of year, especially when blue skies and sunshine feature.

Artwork by the little fairy, one of many.  Now at playschool, she has found more outlets for her creativity.

Instagram.  A phone upgrade has meant I can play too.  Slightly bewildered at first.  Now, I have gotten the hang of it.  You can find me there @thelinencloud if you like.

Preparing for the longer nights.  Chopping logs and getting out the blankets and throws, ready to enjoy cosy nights by the stove.

Snippets of happiness here these past few weeks, joining in as always with the lovely Jen at little birdie.

Wishing you all a happy autumn.

Saturday 21 September 2013

autumn light

Some snapshots from our garden this weekend.

The garden is bathed in beautiful autumn light.  We spent a lovely afternoon enjoying the sunshine, outdoors in perfect temperatures.  Another reason why I love autumn.

The clematis is almost finished flowering.  The outer petals have disappeared but I love the spiky heart which remains.

The first apple from our tree.  A perfect, unblemished golden delicious.  There aren't many but they will be savoured. 

Fungi are popping up all around the lawn.  I am a little fixated with admiring them, wandering around peering at the ground.  I must look slightly off my trolley.

Hawthorn berries are weighing down the trees.  The birds will enjoy quite the feast and the firewood pile, the promise of cosiness and warmth until spring.

I hope you are all enjoying your weekend and that the sun is shining wherever you are too.

Saturday 14 September 2013

tuscan bean soup

Soup season.  One of the many reasons I love autumn.

Whilst having a browse for recipes using curly kale, I happened across a recipe for tuscan bean soup.

It is really delicious.  So delicious in fact,  I have made it three times already.  A definite success.

Lacking a few of the ingredients, I didn't add the parmesan rind and used butter beans instead of cannellini. But soup is forgiving.  It was enjoyed with some granary bread, a perfect warming meal for autumn days.

Give it a go.  I promise you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday 10 September 2013

52 weeks of happy (46/52 & 47/52)

Another double dose of 52 weeks of happy this week.  I've been so busy with the little ones returning to school and countless school runs, time seems to simply disappear before my eyes.

I wish I could grab it and squirrel some away.  I expect things will mellow as routine takes over.  I'm looking forward to relaxing a little.  Maybe I'm kidding myself but I live in hope.

Anyway, my four simple happy things this week include one extra special serving of loveliness.  I became an aunt again.  My brother and his wife had a beautiful baby boy last week.  He is so precious and perfect.  A gorgeous new addition.

My sewing class is making me so happy.  I love it.  My teacher has a wealth of knowledge and is so generous in sharing it.  I get lots of one-to-one time with her.  Just perfect.

Taking part in Mezz's handmade card swap and receiving a parcel from Hannah from dainty and ivory.  It included beautiful cards and lots of pretty gifts.  Happy mail is just lovely.

Picking vegetables from the garden and trying new recipes.  Bean soup with curly kale, beetroot and chocolate cake, courgette fritters and steamed runner beans. All delicious.

Joining up as always with lovely Jen at little birdie and wishing you all lots of happiness in the coming week.
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