Saturday, March 31, 2018

The Plough Inn...the beginning of another trip to England!

Oh beautiful England! Once again hubby and I are making the annual pilgrimage to his homeland for a family visit. Our journey this year begins in the Peak District...famous for higher elevations, limestone, & gritstone. In this part of England 555 miles became the first National Park in 1951. Because we are here in early spring many of the trees and flowers haven't bloomed yet. I can only imagine how beautiful the landscape will be in full foliage and bloom!

Michael found us a cozy little inn in the village of Haversage. One of the things I love most about England is the slower pace of life. The simplicity of village living is a blessed rest from our hectic American lives. We were the recipients of stellar English hospitality and it's always fun to play up my accent again for the locals...haha


The English love walls and hedges and courtyards as the entrance to our room features. Daffodils are in abundance, dotting the hills and in beds and containers everywhere we turn. Spring is such a hopeful happy time. I am so hoping to see baby lambs! Their frolicking always warms my heart...will be on the look out!


We had a bit of a chuckle squeezing our suitcases through the one side of that door where a cozy room awaited along with an "en-suite." (British for private bathroom) 
A yard maintenance man was tidying the courtyard while we were there. I love the cleanliness of England!

The highlight of our visit to the Plough Inn was hubby having a traditional English breakfast with thick bacon, sausage, fried egg, beans tomato and toast! I opted for porridge which is better than our American oatmeal! We even enjoyed a bit of happy singing from the kitchen chef who didn't know we could hear him:) 


Gotta love this quintessential British pub decor. Michael loves the heavy wooden beams found in most pubs. Every square inch of this country exudes ancient history and a character developed over time.

I had to laugh at seeing this sign on the pub wall...how true this is for anyone who runs a business of any kind. It might even apply to the occasional family gathering as well...haha

March in England is usually cold and can be quite dreary. It was an unexpected delight to have sun on our first day here!


Michael asked me if I was ready to drive yet. I have been coming to England since 1984 and never once have I wanted to drive! See that road above? Well, the countryside is full of these one car lanes running though all the villages. The rule is, whoever starts down the lane first has right of way and everyone else pulls over. This is done quickly, automatically, and for me, a bit scary:) Hubby rarely ever makes a mistake even through he only drives on the "wrong side of the road" once a year. Will I ever drive in England? Probably not, 
there aren't any wide open roads here like in Texas!

trip to be continued...



Saturday, March 24, 2018

Spring banner...birds in foil



Spring is such a glorious time of year! Last year I had a set of chipboard birds languishing in my craft closet begging to be set free! A banner seemed like the perfect creation for my spring mantle.



These particular chipboard birds were from Maya Road. They no longer have these on their website but you may try and find them on Etsy, or Ebay. A simple bird shape in chipboard could easily be cut on a Cricut as well.


The birds were first run through my Xyron adhesive machine. Foil (colored side up) was then laid on the sticky side of the birds and they were run through the minc machine. 


I purchased a Heidi Swapp minc machine last year which works with heat reactive foil. It is simple and super fun to use! There are many colors of foil that can be purchased seperately. I chose pink, mint green, and rose gold for this project.


I have granddaughters that live just down the driveway who frequently burst through my door with a vigorous request for a project:) It make my heart happy to know that they love creating! Scarlett was fascinated with the minc machine.


After the birds were foiled I realized they needed a wing! I traced the wing and then cut generously around the outline. Each wing was attached to the bird with regular adhesive.


Ink was then added to the edges of the birds right on top of the foil to add a subtle outline and a bit more dimension.


Annabelle & Scarlett wanted to have a "shiny bird" too, so I cut pieces of foil from the scraps which they laid on top of the adhesive side of the bird. A pass through the machine and viola...a shiny bird of their own:)


Twine is handy to have on hand in a craft stash and my usual choice for hanging banners. The birds were lined up on the countertop with the tail on the edge for consistency. After the twine was hot-glued to the bird I went back and added another layer of hot glue on TOP of the twine on the bird for a more secure hold. 


The birds were foiled, hot-glued and hung on the mantle...but I felt like they were missing something, so down it came. Enter my collection of spring paper flowers by Prima which has the most divine paper flowers:) I have a suitcase full!


I lined the birds back up on the counter top and scattered flowers over the wings with hot-glue until that magical crafting moment when it seemed complete:).....but hang on to your hat...


A second layer of mini flowers were added as centers to the some of the larger flowers...finding that sweet spot to stop can be a challenge for an embellishment lover such as me!


How do I hang the banners? Packing tape. It works for me:)







I found the field flowers at Hobby Lobby...they are perfect in these urns! Last year I made flower arrangements for each season. It is so nice to walk into the attic and retrieve a ready to go seasonal display:)


These metal and ceramic birds make me smile:) I picked them up from Hobby Lobby, Tuesday Morning & a local garden center.


And there you have it...chipboard, paper flowers, & foil...a cheerful and hopeful tribute to spring!



p.s.The small paper bird banner was created last year with my Fiskars Fuse machine which cuts and embosses in one pass. 

Here is the post of that project...
https://nelliescottageretreat.blogspot.com/2016/02/birds.html