Friday, 31 January 2014

Three Things : 40/52

Hello.......... It's year of happy time again, so here are this weeks 'three things'

Number one:

Well it had to be really my fun filled afternoon at Port Lympne, we had such a great afternoon plus I got to spend some time with my sister and nephew.  I'm really thinking about maybe going and having one of the parks animal experiences for my birthday later in the year.  I'd love to go and meet the Giraffes.

Number two:

Number two this week is Tulips that are Roses !! yep as they had sold out of Tulip on Saturday as well as my little pail of bulbs I bought these beautiful Roses, I picked them as I just love the bright colour of them it's hard not to be happy when you look at them.

Number three:

My third happy thing this week is getting out my water colours for this weeks picture. I hadn't planned on it  as I'd used the paper in my sketch book plus water colour paints, water and a bed, is not the safest idea for a clumsy Clare but I was so inspired by all the art talk on Facebook (have you seen it? ) A friend choose Matisse as my artist to share my favourite work by and I couldn't have been more pleased with her choice.

As I just love all the colour in his paintings, the picture I selected is above I just find this picture so serene and the colours are wonderful

My picture at the moment looks like a four year painted it but I don't care as I'm having fun. It's inspired by my trip to the Animal Park and when we get a day or two with a bit more natural light I'll hopefully get a chance to finish it.

Well that's about all for this week, I hope you've had a happy week and if you are in the UK that you are keeping dry with yet more storms forecast.

Clare xx

Wednesday, 29 January 2014


Hello........ With yet more icy rain lashing against the windows I've decided to try and find the positive, yes it's all going to turn out OK because there are signs of the Spring to come, we have Shoots.  

I've had enough of the rain now and for certain the washed out Summerhouse garden has had enough too. It's no wonder I always love to have bulbs inside the house this time of year.

We have mini Tulip shoots..........

The story of these is, I wanted to get some Tulips at the weekend but by the time we got to the shop they had sold out. So I guess everyone had the same idea as me. I was not to be stopped in my Tulip mission though, just a little delayed. 

As I found this lovely little pail of mini tulips reduced to the bargain price of £1.99, I think I like the thought of growing my own even better, as they will last for longer and a surprise awaits me as to what colour they will be.

The mini Iris shoots are growing too

Just look how much bigger they are from last week.

We also have Amaryllis shoots this is supposed to be a pastel 'Apple Blossom' so I'm looking forward to seeing what the flowers are like.

Out in the garden:

Nature is trying her very best, just look there is still so much colour to be found out in the Summerhouse garden.  We still have some summer flowers trying there best Marigolds, Roses, Fuchsia and Geraniums. Winter Jasmine, Holly and red berries and Ivy are to be found and the hope of Spring with Polyanthus, the Camellia in bud and bulbs coming up everywhere, even the night scented Jasmine is in bud, lets hope the frosts doesn't knock them off.

There are also some shoots of hope for a very ongoing WIP, I've been making my Purple Leave Cushion for nearly a year now, yep you heard me right! It seems a never ending  project that  keeps being put on hold. Partly as I'm so easily distracted by other makes and also as I struggle a bit with knitting I find it much more painful on my joints and muscles.  

This week I've picked it up again and have made a few more leaves.  You can read more about this make 'here' .This year I'm really trying not to start anything new until I finished some WIP's

As for my Spring time throw I've only managed another two squares this week but I'll get there.

  The year in books : January

I have however finished something, January's book 'The Colour' by Rose Tremain, I'm not entirely sure what I think of this book. I loved the main storyline and central character Harriet but her husbands character, there is nothing at all to endear you to him and as for some of the subplot's I found them a little scattered,  never really meeting up with the main plot. This is not a book with many happy endings. Being a writer of Folk songs I thought this story would be right up my street with a strong female character set against the backdrop of the 1860's New Zealand gold rush , but all in all it's left me a little undecided.

Has anyone else read it? what did you make of it?

So here's February book ready and waiting on my bedside table,  it's 'Earthly Joys' by Philippa Gregory. Join in with  circle of pines, year in books

Joining in with Ginny's 'yarn along' and Nicoles KCCO so why not check out what everyones been making.

Happy Crafting

Clare xx

Monday, 27 January 2014

Animal Adventures

Hello........ On Saturday afternoon I went on a bit of a huge adventure for me. It's fair to say I've been having a bit of a rough time lately with my health, in fact this was only the fourth time I'd left the house this year. So this was a big big deal for me

Yes we were off on Safari, my sister popped the wheelchair in the car and off we went, truth be told I wasn't really well enough but I was determined to go.  We were off to Port Lympne Wild Animal park home of the Aspinall Foundation.

The park is situated on a very steep hill, so not ideal for Wheelchair users but they couldn't have been more helpful, on arrival the lady in the shop radioed for a mini bus to come and pick us up and dropped us off where we wanted to be. So we headed straight to the truck stop the perfect way to get around a big section of the park 'The African Experience'.

The driver lifted the wheelchair up onto the trailer and we were off.  Past the Cheetah and her cubs, then past the elephants and Zebras who were sadly but sensibly all in the houses, way to cold to be out and about

However lots of the animals were braving the elements apologies if I get them wrong first we spotted a Water Buffalo, who was happy in all the mud and flooding from the recent weather

Then this chap, It makes me so happy to see acres the animal can roam in

We saw Heron and Ostrich as well, all from the moving Safari truck

Waterbuck and Raon Antelope by this point I was almost bouncing up and down with excitement and then it got even better ...........

Lookie lookie my favourite Giraffe right up close

Aww so lovely and serene I did feel a bit sorry for them all as the terrain was so wet,

Aww one last look, it's hard to believe we are in rural Kent

This is the very bottom of the park that is quite flooded

See ducks !!! 
 we then saw the African hunting dogs who were ragging about playing

The Blue Wildebeast we out and about (apologies if I'm wrong I'm trying to identify them from the park guide)

Lots and lots of them, I'm sure they were all very happy that the Carnivores are situated elsewhere in the park.  I always feel so sorry for them on the nature programs

Just look how much room they have to roam in, it makes me so happy, plus the great thing about the Aspinall foundation is that they have breeding program and return animals back to the wild where they can.

Here's the view from the top, sorry it was quite a murky foggy day. Here we got off the truck to go and say hello

to this little guy, bless him he was on century duty while the rest of his friends and family were in there burrow huddle around a heat lamp, he was making such cute little noise and so close.

Back on the truck I even spotted a Panda, oh no sorry that's 'L' in his Panda hat.

On the way back round we passed the Black Rhino Mamma and her Little one

such a shame so many of these animals face extinction it makes me very sad and thats why when I was well enough to work I used to donate straight from my salary each month to the Aspinall Foundation.

Our Safari tour took most of the afternoon and as the rest of the park would have been real struggle in the manual wheelchair, the Safari Truck driver radioed for the van to come and pick us up.  I was pretty exhausted by this point and had, had such a wonderful time seeing all the animal especially the Giraffes

We weren't quite finished though there was time to see the Barbary Lions and Wolves at the top of the park and this magnificent creature.

This is the closest I've ever been to a Tiger, so beautiful and less than a metre away

 The Amur Tigers,  were prowling around there enclosure but they were happy enough to poise for photos and rub against the viewing windows glass to say hello, just like our cats rubs around our legs at home.

So I had a marvellous afternoon so very worth the ME/Lyme payback. You can find out more about the park and the Aspinall foundation 'here'  if you are in the area it's well worth a visit.

Clare xx

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Big garden bird watch 2014

Hello..... So this weekend here in the UK it's the RSPB big garden bird watch. Here at the Summerhouse we love all things birdie and usually take part. So early this morning still in my PJ's I sat down to count the birds.

I arranged all the essentials notepad and pen, bird book, comfy cushion, Binoculars and a cuppa so I was all set for a hour of bird watching.

While I was getting ready 'P' kindly went out and stocked up the feeders, we have very lucky birds here at the Summerhouse as 'P' always keeps them well fed.  Here's just a selection of some of what was put out this morning.

  • Seeds
  • nuts
  • fat balls
  • suet nibbles 
  • yucky mealworms eek
  • some old cherries, grapes, apple and pear
  • bread
  • and finally a suet block 
See I told you they were feed well, which is great as that means we get so many birds visiting the garden. I was very lucky this morning in the birds that I spotted 79 birds in total in a hour, so who popped by...

  • 2 Magpies
  • 2 Wood pigeon
  • 1 Small brown unidentified dove that was with the wood pigeons (not idea what it was so didn't count it)
  • 3 Blackbirds
  • 2 collared Doves
  • 5 Common Gulls
  • 36 Tree Sparrows (we have a large colony in the summerhouse garden living in the hedges and fir trees, so much so the RSPB double checked when I input the findings)
  • 4 Blue Tits
  • 1 Crow
  • 14 Starling's
  • 1 Green Woodpecker (so lucky that he popped by today)
  • 1 Feral Pigeon
  • 1 Great Tit
  • 1 Song Thrush
  • 1 Wren
  • 1 Coal Tit
  • 3 long tailed Tits
So yay for the health of the visiting bird population, sadly I saw no finches at all this year, which is very sad but I know we have Chaffinch and Green finch who visit the garden, plus I hoped to see our Robin but he must have been elsewhere.

So in honor of the Big Garden Bird watch here is this week drawing I started it Monday and finished it Friday doing a bit at a time I included some of the birds who visit the garden plus all the flowers in the garland are blooming in the garden at the moment Roses and Marigolds in January!! I'm not entirely happy with it but I said I would share my pictures this year.

There is still time to take part in the survey if you want to I've popped a link 'here' there is even a handy app this year. Hope you're having a fab weekend

Clare x

Friday, 24 January 2014

Three Things 39/52

Hello it's year of happy time again, so here are this weeks 'Three Things' plus one, well I couldn't resist just look at the gorgeous colour of the above Polyanthus, it's great that they are flowering in the garden again, happy happy.

Number one:

My first happy thing is the gorgeous sunsets we've been treated to this week, so beautiful. nothing better than sky blue pink. I managed to take this picture on Monday and I just love the contrast between the tree's branches and the sky.

Number two:

Is the joy that comes from having a good tidy up of the sewing boxes, putting all the cotton reels and bit and bobs back in the right places, I'm not the tidiest of crafters and always seem to be suffering from a serious case of Craftermath

So while I've been stuck in bed with the last of the lurgy and relapse it kindly left me with, I've spent some time tidy up my sewing box (above) and my mini project basket that my sister gave me for Christmas. I do love the blue and the polka dots. 

There is a story behind this as when we went to Halfords to order my Nephews bike before Christmas I fell in love with a gorgeous pastel blue bike with a basket lined with polka dot fabric, it even had a polka dot saddle. (sadly I couldn't find a photo of it online, but how gorgeous is the above bike, just perfect)

Sadly being ill, I'm in no state to ride or need a bike, it was one of those, ooh when I'm better or if I had a different life with a healthy body moments, then I would so need that bike in my life and hopefully one day I will it good to have a dream.

My sister remembered this when shopping for Christmas gifts and bought me the much more useful and practical polka dot sewing basket, that I've been using as my portable ongoing project box.

Number three:

My third skippy happy thing this week, is my lovely bulbs. I checked on them on Sunday and they were ready to come out of the dark of sideboard in the Summerhouse and into the light.  Yippee I just can't wait to seem them flower.

Well that's all the happy for this time, have a great weekend. I'm hopefully off on a bit of a big adventure for me, so I've been doing some serious bed resting trying to find some energy for that.

Why not leave a comment about what makes you happy or what dreams you hold for the future, maybe you to need a pastel blue bike in you're life like me or something else I'd love the hear.

Oh I forgot to say it's the RSPB Big garden bird watch this weekend so if you want to take part you can find the details 'here' we always take part here at the Summerhouse, more on that next time.
Clare xx