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Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Everything in the garden's lovely ...


Good morning my lovelies! My house looks like a furniture warehouse (this place is like Ozzie Wood's ... as my Mam used to say) ... with pieces waiting to be magically transformed for my own event.  Ooh, I'm excited. but there's a lot of work to be done. I've consulted the long-term weather forecast and hopefully it's going to be a nice weekend ... sunshine would be wonderful, but as long as it's not raining it will be fine.

I trial-runned this sale last year, and it was the hottest, sunniest day of the year ... this year I'm going to do the whole weekend, so need loads of stock.  When I go to fairs, I'm obviously limited by how far away the venue is, and what I can fit in my car, but by doing this I can sell larger items, such as dressers, wardrobes and dressing tables, etc.  (I just hope that I sell them, I dread to think where they will go, if not!)

So if you've got a couple of hours free and don't live too far away, it would be absolutely wonderful to meet you!

I'm trying to catch up with all your posts, by looking at ten a day ... the trouble is, more keep appearing!

Well, I'll love you and leave you, as my paintbrush is calling me ... (I have a fair this weekend too), and I hope you all have a wonderful week and that the sun shines on you ...

Much love, Claire xxx

PS: I've spelt Dotty's name wrong on the flyer ... I can't change it as Steve had to set up pjf, or jpd's or something or other, and I daren't ask him to do it all again!

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Am I only dreaming?


Good morning, my lovelies!


This is where I'm writing to you from today ... and no, before you ask, I'm not on my jollydays although it does feel like it ...



Come on in ... kick off your shoes, and I'll give you a tour ...




Meet Dotty ... our new family member, and already much-loved ...


This is my favourite place to sit and watch the world go by ...


Room to relax ...


Another cosy corner ..


and Ruby, photobombing my pretty pictures! She's settled in very well, and I can often find her in here, getting away from it all ...


Time to put your feet up, and enjoy the ride (although we aren't going anywhere!) ...


Floral loveliness abounding ...


My treasures all fit in so effortlessly ...


And life really is just a bowl of cherries! 

This dream of mine, to have a caravan in the garden, has been harboured for ever ... ever since I was a little girl and used to visit a family friend's caravan by the sea.  A bolt hole, somewhere to think and dream, to be creative or just simply to laze about in, doing nothing. Somewhere that is home, but not in the house ... but not properly outside either. 

This dream has been made a reality by a lovely lady called Gillian. She remembered that about a year ago, I had been enquiring on Facebook if anyone had an old caravan I could buy, for a project in the garden.  I wasn't lucky as the replies were all too expensive, too big, or just not what I was looking for.  When passing a possible candidate parked at the roadside, I would screech to a halt, leap out and look for phone numbers, but it was never to be.  Until now, and I'm so, so glad that I waited! Gillian contacted me, saying she was selling her caravan and would I like to look at it.  She mentioned it was green with white spots, and decorated in Cath Kidston style.  All I can say is Gillian is not prone to exaggeration and I was flabbergasted when I saw Dotty for the first time, and when  the door was opened I was in seventh heaven! Steve took down the measurements and we then had to come home and measure the space we had available.  I knew that if she didn't fit through the gates that was the end of it ... with about 6 inches to spare on each side, Dotty was eased into position on our drive on Sunday evening.  We are busy removing raised beds on the veggie plot to finally position her as we can't get through our front door with ease any more!

Everyone who comes to see Dotty says "you've been busy, when did you get her"? and can't believe that she was already like this ... she is just perfect for my taste ... I had even painted a little step stool green with white spots only last week ... and my cushions match the roller blinds! I have been introducing small items, but can't go mad as yet, as Dotty has to be moved, so I will only have to empty her again.  There is loads of storage but I am determined that she doesn't become like my craft room ... too full to open the door! My craft room can now be tidied and sorted as my old Singer can now reside in Dotty ... a perfect place to sit and sew ...



Dreams can come true ... and thank you so much Gillian for making mine happen ... I know we are going to have many, many happy years with Dotty! 

Love, Claire xxx

PS: Thank you all for your lovely greetings and comments on Tuesday! We had a wonderful day with family and friends and the sun shone, so it was just perfect ... thanks again xxx



Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Third finger, left hand ...

To Steve xxx

25 years ago today I married the kindest, most selfless man in the world. We look so young in this picture, and totally unaware of what lay ahead of us.


Since then we've experienced life ups and downs; joy, happiness, tragedy, comedy, excitement and grief ... I wouldn't change a thing about this journey, because it's brought us to where we are today, and there is nowhere else I want to be than by his side.


Tonight we will celebrate together with a meal at a local restaurant and then on Friday our children are treating us to an evening celebration at the place where we had our wedding reception all those years ago.  Feeling well and truly blessed.

Love, Claire

Monday, 2 June 2014

I need a little time ...

Good morning, my lovelies! I don't seem able to get a minute these days to catch up with you all ... I've got a big fair coming up in a fortnight, so every spare moment is spent, paintbrush in hand, titivating furniture within an inch of its life, and making and creating.



Once that's over, Steve and I are going to the great metropolis for a few days ... alone, just us two! Never before has this happened, as we've always had a little tribe following in our wake ... at the beginning of July we celebrate our Silver Wedding, so are treating ourselves to a nice little trip to London ... we don't really want to do the typical touristy things, as we've done that with our family ... we want to explore the hidden treasures of our capital, so if any of you lovely people have any suggestions, I'd be very grateful! We will be there Friday, Saturday and most of Sunday.


I am missing you all, and promise that as soon as the chaos that is my life at the moment, quietens down, I will be visiting you all, and leaving so many comments, that you'll wish I stayed away! Harry is now home from Uni for the summer ... yesterday was spent emptying his room on campus and bringing back 9 months of washing, and other lovely things ... a bagful of unwashed crockery, anyone?

With that delightful image in your head, I'll love you and leave you, and until next time, here's some flowers for you ...




Love, Claire xxx

PS: Can't wait to find out what you've all been doing xx

Friday, 16 May 2014

You are my sunshine ...


“She turned to the sunlight
    And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbour:
    "Winter is dead.”






Hope that the sun shines for you this weekend ... see you soon my lovelies!

Love, Claire xxx

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Make it easy on yourself ...

Good morning my lovelies!


It's a bit of a blustery day here on my little island, nothing on the calendar, so a stay-at-home sort of day I think ... if I've got nothing planned I don't mind this kind of day, now and again of course ... all the time would be a bit tedious. I've been moving furniture round and sprucing it up, as you know what they say "a change is as good as a rest" and I feel like I've decorated or done something really drastic as it all looks fresh and .... different.


The cupboard above was a lovely find from Freegle,  (I already had the top cabinet) ... a new coat of paint, a swish of wax and some careful shabbying, and voila! ... a complete new look for ... well, nothing!


I've been pondering about simplifying chores (to free up time to do more pleasurable activities, like pottering about with phrases and needles and reels of Sylko) and I'd like to share my top tips with you for making life just that bit easier.  My husband thinks I have chronic OCD, and that may not be far from the truth, but hey, if it makes me more organised with very little effort, that can only be a good thing, can't it? I have mentioned some of these tips before, so if you've already seen them, I apologise!


Top Tips
  • ALWAYS have a 1 litre spray bottle, filled with plain tap water and 2 tsps of bicarbonate of soda handy.  This mixture is invaluable for cleaning your oven  as mentioned here, but also works on any burnt on spills (old or new) on the hob.  Just spray on and leave a few seconds. Wipe off and it will completely disappear.


  • ALWAYS have a 1 litre spray bottle, filled 2/3 with tap water, the remainder with white vinegar, and a tiny drop of washing up liquid.  This concoction is marvellous for cleaning bathrooms, but gives brilliant results on windows and mirrors too ... spray on, wipe off and then polish with scrunched up newspaper ... dazzling results!


  • When filling the dishwasher, try to put like with like as you go, ie, plates of same size, mugs, bowls, etc ... then all you need to do is pick them out in one fell swoop and put in cupboard, without having to sort through them.  The same goes for cutlery ... if you put just forks in one compartment of the cutlery basket, they can just all be put straight into drawer.  The same goes for knives, spoons, etc.  More hygienic too ... especially if the children are helping!


  • While you're doing the 'big' shop, try to put similar items together into the shopping trolley. Place tins together (preferably at the bottom), bread, fridge stuff, frozen items, etc.  Load them onto the belt in this way and then when  you pack them at the other end they will be in this order.  Bag them up separately, ie, tins in one bag (careful, it's heavy!), fridge stuff in another, toiletries in another, etc. When you get home the chore of putting away is a lot easier and this is were you can delegate ... bag of toiletries in the bathroom, veg in the rack, freezer stuff straight into the freezer, without having to sort through every item and making unnecessary journeys. It might sound complicated, but trust me, it will soon become second nature.


  • After you've washed your bedding, keep one pillowcase aside and fold the duvet cover, remaining pillowcases and sheets and place inside the saved pillowcase.  This way you always have a complete matching set to hand ... no more turning the airing cupboard upside down looking for a matching pillowcase! They stack into neat piles too ...


  • Staying with the 'laundry' theme, when you go on holiday, take some bin bags or large carrier bags with you and sort laundry each day.  This saves the mammoth task of turning 6 suitcases onto the kitchen floor and sifting through 2 weeks of smelly washing.  I did this once, and vowed never again! All you need to do, when you get back, is take each bag out at a time and it's not such a big deal.


  • If you're having a 'big' celebration meal, such as Christmas Dinner, or even just a family get-together Sunday roast, about an hour before it's due to be served, place the plates and serving dishes in the dishwasher and put on a quick wash.  Don't open the door until ready to serve and everything will be piping hot and saves space in your oven.  Put your gravy in a teapot, much less dribblesome, and keeps warmer longer too! (And looks very pretty, especially if dressed in a vintage cosy).


  • If you break a glass or china object, after you've picked up the big pieces, take a piece of fresh bread and wipe over the surface ... the bread will pick up the little splinters that you may otherwise miss.


  • If you drop a raw egg, rather than try to pick it up and risk spreading the mess, just give it a blast with a hairdryer ... this will cook the egg making it easy to pick up and dispose of ... or give to the dog so not wasted ...
I didn't think I'd be able to do ten, but I've racked my brains, and here's top tip number 10 ...


  • If fussy visitors are coming at very short notice, say an hour, there isn't time to spring clean, so just get a carrier bag, put everything in it that's cluttering the place, plump up the cushions, tidy papers and magazines, and pick a big bunch of flowers from the garden and light candles.  They'll be so taken with the welcoming ambience that they won't notice the dustballs under the sofa ...

After all that hard work, put your feet up, pick up your favourite magazine ... and relax with a treat.  Enjoy! You deserve it ...


Hope you all have a Wonderful Wednesday ...

Love Claire xxx

Friday, 25 April 2014

Annabel too ...

My finger has been hovering over the 'publish' button for what seems an age ... but Thriftwood is about me, how I feel, and what is happening in my life ... a journal for me to delve back into, and to remember ....

The 'About Me' on my sidebar tells you that I am a mother of five wonderful children, but perhaps you may have noticed that only four of them are ever mentioned?

Today is our darling girl's 18th birthday ... a bittersweet day - there will be no champagne, no pink birthday cake, no new dress or party ... there will be no excitement, no friends and family dropping in with cards and presents ... no celebrations.

Our first daughter was born 18 years ago ... after a textbook pregnancy, she arrived quickly, 2 days past her due date, weighing 9lbs 2oz, with a head of dark curls and rosebud lips... perfect in every way, but she had already left us.

Although with us for such a short time, she taught me so much ... we already had three gorgeous boys, and although I know that everyone thought I was hoping for a girl, I really didn't mind. I had always wanted four children, and it didn't matter one bit whether they were pink or blue.  I didn't know I was having a girl, that part just wasn't important. She taught me to never take anything for granted again, she taught me for a while to be patient, the little trivialities in life just weren't important any more, and she taught me to be so thankful for what I have, as all too quickly it can disappear.

The following year my beautiful second daughter Millie was born.

So today, there will be no champagne, no pink birthday cake, no new dress or party ... there will be no excitement, no friends and family dropping in with cards and presents, but in my heart I will be celebrating that my precious Annabel was once a part of me ...

Love, Claire xxx