writing on gardening, interiors and cooking

interior decorating from vintage finds, freebies and the occasional skip, with a bit of flair,- gardening on a budget - and craft and cooking from scratch and with imagination.















Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Happy Birthday , you are now two!



Tomorrow is a very special day, as Maud and Millie, the resident pooches at Modern Country Lady, are celebrating their birthday- they are 2 tomorrow!!

Millie is not too sure about her Birthday hat ( they have only had them on for a few seconds for the pictures) :-)..We have had them since after Christmas last year.. .. here's some more pictures of the Birthday girls.. who already have had quite a few treats to get them in the mood :-)


These two adorable dogs are from a dogs home, and if you think of getting a dog, please consider re-homing a dog from a home... they all deserve a chance !!
Have a fabulous rest of the week!
XOXO
Bea

p.s.- if you want to read more about Maud and Millie this is the link to their blog.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Christmas presents- dog and cat- - and no guilty conscience


Don't you just love this card ? My Christmas shopping is not done yet- and I thought to give you some thoughts and ideas for Christmas presents without a guilty conscience .The photographer, Joan, is a very caring artist who writes a very moving blog about her adventures amidst the beautiful cats she rescues .They are left with little of no chances for life on the island of Greece where she has made her home.
Visit her blog and her shop,and buy a few of her cards , you won't regret it!!
 The sale of the cards which you can find here on her Etsy shop will all help 100 % towards the care of the cats.She is looking after 40 cats and counting at the moment !!!

Etsy is a great place .Amazing artists and gifts.So I thought to share a list of fun dog- and cat-related presents for Christmas for all my blogfriends who are just as animal mad as I am.Support al these amazing crafters, it's worthwile !!

Here is the link to the list of presents for dog and cat lovers I made on Etsy .
                                          This card you can find here.

                                             

                                            These fun buttons you can find here
                                                    
                                                                       





                   This fun set of cards with Angry Cat you can find here
                     And the set of cards with cat in tree here below...
                                   
                                              you can find here

                                            This lovely tea towel here below
                                          
                                                  you can find here
                                   And this fabulous dog collar below

                                         you can find here
                                You can find this fabulous cat calendar here below


                                                if you click here

                                               And this lovely dog below..
                                                   
                                       You can find here

Have a look around , I am sure you  will enjoy it ! And don't forget to get yourself some lovely cards froom Saint and Apostles here on her Etsy shop!
 Have a great weekend!!
XOXO
Bea

linking to
Inspiration Friday

Friday, 25 November 2011

Christmas tree decorations




This is just a quick post to show you how simple your Christmas tree decorations could be without spending too much on it, and still have something pretty to look at.
You would need the ingredients here below:

Ingredients:
Granulated sugar,
Green, yellow and red food colouring,
Some Christmassy shaped biscuits cutters
A bit of water.
A few small bowls and a teaspoon.

Here is how you make your decorations:
Take 12 tablespoons of granulated sugar and add 2 teaspoons of food colouring.
Make three bowls like this, each with a different colour- one gree, one yellow, one red.Or you can go for just yellow and green , which is what I did.
Mix well. The mixture has to have an even colour ( green, or yellow, or red).For the mixture think wet sand like when you build a sandcastle. So: not too dry, and not too wet.Add,  if too dry , a tiny bit of water.

Roll out some baking paper.
Take a Christmassy themed biscuit cutter ( star, tree, bell, or otherwise) which has a high-ish edge.
Using the baking paper as your worktop on which you will make your decorations, fill the biscuit shape with the sugar"sand"- and compact well with your finger or the bottom of a teaspoon.Loosen the shape by using the handle of the teaspoon like a small knife and go all along the edges ,so the shape of the star or tree or whatever shape you have chosen , pops out onto the baking paper.


Let the shapes dry.This may take about 15 to 20 minutes.The sugar will become pretty hard.

Wrap the shapes in cellophane and tie with a ribbon.They are now ready to be hung from your tree.
You can improvise a small tree by taking some branches and spraying and / or painting them white and putting themin a wicker basket with some evergreen cover at the foot of the "tree".
Hang your decorations from the branches and you are done!

Enjoy your Christmas decorations! And if you are tired of them, you can simply dissolve them in a cup of tea or coffee!!
XOXO
Bea


I'd like to thank my friend Mariette with her lovely blog Mariette's back to basics 
for the super cute blog award she gave me yesterday.
Aww !! Isn't is sweet !
Thank you dearest Mariette!
And a very happy weekend to you and Peter and to all of you out there !!
XOXO
Bea

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Bowood House - and Thanksgiving

Today I have been to Bowood House where the Bowood House Hotel and Golfclub was hosting a Christmas stalls event- and where I was present with my wares with " My Aunt Agatha" at a festive ladies lunch.
Above you see one of the entrances to the estate- this one leads to the club.
( There is an event more magnificent front entrance ).
If you have never been to Bowood House, you must absolutely go- it has stunning landscape gardens set in magnificent countryside.


Here are some of the Christmas decorations as it was already full into the whole Christmas mode...
It was a very busy day, in fabulous and very luxurious surrroundings, and I made lots of lovely new contacts and some new friends that I hope to keep in touch with.

So overall it was a very good day.
The club was very hospitable and generous and we were given quite a nice lunch too- and all for free- so that was really super sweet.
I had loads of very good advice and  tips from more seasoned Gift fair ladies, so I feel very blessed and am looking forward to more crafting, more designs, more plans and more fairs.
So on this Thanksgiving day, which we in the UK don't really celebrate, I would like to give thanks for all the things in my life,for all my friends and their support and love, and all my blogfriends and all their support and kind encouraging words, and for all the kindness bestowed on me, to Katy from Bowood who fitted me in although the place was full, as she liked my things so much, ( and who is a gifted jeweller herself  ) and Giselle, from Ginnel Gifts who stood next to me with a stand and has given me heaps of advice on suppliers, and productlines and fairs , and Kaz with her fabulously fun illustrations and Bee with her fun pottery painting parties.


Happy Thanksgiving to you all!!
XOXO
Bea



Monday, 21 November 2011

Christmas past and present- some projects

I just love Christmas, and I thought to take you today through a few decorating ideas , some of my Christmas projects from the past and how you can re-use your Christmas decorations in different ways.

 This Christmas wreath with the teddy bears I made quite some time ago, and had it a standing on the top of the Welsh dresser like here below last year.
To make this wreath you just need  an ordinary  pine wreath, some green-and white gingham ribbon which you make into bows, and three small teddy bears and some striped candy sticks which you fix to the wreath.Super simple!And you can use it again and again.

A year before that, I had the same wreath on the big mirror in the living room.
This big mirror has had loads of Christmas wreaths on it...this golden wreath with red ribbons, and a basket which echoes the red beneath it, is from years ago...when I still lived in Holland.

You make this gold wreath by taking a  straw wreath as your base , to which you pin laurels leaves ( the ones you usually use cooking and making soups ).I used big U shaped pins you can get from a florist.I then painted the leaves gold.It's super simple to do- so give it a go!
The lady to the right is my mother by the way.

Another project I did which is quite fun and really different, is putting up some Christmas lights-covered white painted tree-branches .
You need to take some huge tree branches , put them in a bucket with cement, then paint the branches white and thread them with Christmas lights.Then put your trees around your Christmas dinner table , and leave only the Christmas lights on for a fairy tale effect. 
It really is quite special.I loved it so much I kept it for at least  two months ..And really not that difficult to do! The wreath you can see is green, dotted with red bows, and a rippling red ribbon over the wreath.
The rippling ribbon effect on the mirror was inspired by a door decoration I saw  which I thought was super .The fir tree branches here are composed in the shape of a peacock. Underneath the gold rippling ribbon which idea I used for the mirror.
I made this peacock decoration myself as well for over our doorway, with a huge wreath on the front door, when I lived in the city I studied in.
I can tell you I was pretty shocked when I came back from Art school and found my door wreath was pinched, stolen, disappeared !!I have always wondered what Christmas is like with someone else's wreath!!So I kept to the peacock / pine decoration over the door in the years after that just to be on the safe side .
Instead of Christmas cards you could also bake some gingerbread with " Merry Christmas" piped on it, wrapped in cellophane.Gingerbread is very simple to make and it's just a little bit of a different than an ordinary card.

I love Christmas. But Christmas is not just about decorating , my friends. I know from experience how tough and lonely it can be, if you have just lost someone you love in whatever way and you are on your own for Christmas. The contrast to the crowds rushing around happily, looking foward to some lovely days and you walking around with pain in your heart makes it pretty tough .Have faith,  if you are in that dark place, because it will pass, and you will get through it!
Count your blessings if you are not, and be kind to others, and be there for them.

Enjoy your Christmas projects!
XOXO
Bea

.linking to
Tabletop Tuesday

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Stir up Sunday

Tomorrow, Sunday 20 November is the date of Stir-up Sunday 2011,  traditionally the day to mix your mincemeat and plum pudding and Christmas cake...so just to keep you inspired..here is a link on blog with a great recipe for Christmas cake :-).
There are many people who do not love Christmas cake at all, but this recipe is really fabulous and you will absolutely love it, guaranteed!!
Here is the link to get you stirring and baking :-)


Have a fabulous and rosy coloured Stir up Sunday :-)
( and if you are stuck for Christmas presents, the fun little dog teacosy can be found here )


Enjoy your Sunday!
XOXO
Bea


Friday, 18 November 2011

The latest from Modern Country Lady - the Gift Fair and other things


Here a small glimpse of the Gift Fair from last week in Marlborough, Wilsthire (UK)..You can see my stand with " My Aunt Agatha" products- quirky and hand embroidered pillows, aprons and tea cosies inspired by Miss Marple, Agatha Christie , vintage embroidery and the British way of life at the time of Miss Marple.There are lot of polkadots,  red and white ticking , and dogs sitting drinking cups of tea :-).Have a look at the shop later on if you have the time !!
There was a lot of interest and positive feedback for My Aunt Agatha and   overall it was a good experience.Nest week I will be at Bowood House in Wiltshire ( UK ) so if you want to know the exact place and time, let me know.It's a very  busy time the month before Christmas  with Gift Fairs, so if you want to stay in touch with me, may I suggest the Modern Country Lady Facebook Page which you can find here ,( or just put this in Google : http://www.facebook.com/pages/Modern-Country-Lady/156686571029572 )

I'd love to hear from you all and stay in touch with you all and not just through my blog !!
And I promise some more blogposts and Christmas projects :-)
The combination of getting things ready for Gift Fairs and fighting a nasty bug / heavy cold has taken all my energy with no time left for anything else, not even blogging !
Luckily I was given this by my lovely Modern Country Gentleman and it pulled me right back from  the edge !!
Helps against bugs and colds- no doubt about it- yesssir !! :-)


Aww!!

I have also opened My Aunt Agatha as a shop which you can find here
or if the link does not work , just put in : http://www.etsy.com/shop/MyAuntAgatha#
I was featured the first day I opened the My Aunt Agatha shop on Kirstie and Phil's Facebook page with my products, which was very thrilling.!You can see it here below.I was mighty proud.Then I discovered that Kirstie and Phil even " liked" Modern Country Lady on Facebook and then it was time for a bit of running throught the garden and screaming, hahaha.

Not sure you could hear the screaming as far as Alaska, but I came pretty near :-).
Kirstie and Phil, for all of you outside the UK, are Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer.Their Facebook page is here
http://www.facebook.com/KirstieandPhil?sk=wall
Kirstie & Phil have been making TV shows since "Location Location Location" launched in 2000.

Since then, they have presented "Relocation Relocation", "Kirstie's Homemade Home", "Relocation: Phil Down Under", "Kirstie & Phil's Perfect Christmas" and "Vacation Vacation Vacation".

At the moment, Kirstie presents a programme called Kirstie's Handmade Britain, where she tackles a different craft every week.Her Facebook page then reflects the featured craft of that programme of the week and you can send pictures of your craft efforts to the production company per email, and if they think it's good enough, they enter it into their craft album on their Facebook page.
I have sent in pictures of projects on my blog every week and have been featured every week so that has been very thrillling and exciting .
Check it out on their Page in the craft and floral photo albums if you like !!
 

               "the cat is on the sofa so we thought this was safest !" :-)

This is how I found the dogs when I had turned my back for a moment.And in the middle of the sofa a tiny white cat,Tilda,  fast asleep.
O, well !! I suposse it's fair the cats rule as they were there first :-).
Have a fabulous weekend!
XOXO
Bea



Friday, 11 November 2011

My Aunt Agatha

Hi everyone- sorry about the radio silence . This is a very exciting week for me- tomorrow we will be at the Craft and Hand made Gift Fair in Marlborough with our company " My Aunt Agatha" with all kind of lovely and quirky things  for your home..so if you or are in the area and want to do any Christmas shopping or just want to say hello, pop by - it would be lovely to see you :-)! The doors are open from 9.30 till 4.30 and it's in the town hall in Marlborough, Wiltshire.Hope to see you there !! XOXO Bea