Family restoration

I’ve been researching ancestors a little less distant recently such as my late father and his World War 2 records.  Back in January i came across some photos of him in uniform which i’d had for years without realising as they were in the left along with all the rest of the junk up there.  It was a real thrill to find these but one of them had a few creases and spot marks but weren’t bad considering they are 70 years old now.
So i thought i’d have a go at restoring this picture using some software.
and I’m quite pleased with the result.  I’m sure if spent more time i could make a better job of it.
This and some others are very precious to me as i dont have a lot of images of my dad who sadly died back in 1971 when i was a child and before i took up photography.
What photos do you have that mean the world to you?
Gill x

the magpie in me

Its true I am a magpie. I love small, bright, sniny and especially silver objects. Trouble is i cant afford to collect pure silver but have found items which are just as beautiful but are silver plated pewter instead.
Behold the beauty of these little darlings
Its a pig pin cushion which forms the lid of a very small box which you could keep your pins in. Its approx 4.5 cm x 3.5 cm.
Around the box sides it reads “You can’t make silk out of a sows ear”
I got it from eBay and paid a bit more than i wanted to but had to have it. (promise not to let on to the old man though please)
This is a letter opener which on one side of the handle has acorns and oak leaves and on the other
a piece of prose “Tall old oaks from little acorns grow”
These two items are made by a company called Silver Scenes. It was originally established in 1984.
“All the designs are the unique creations of either Maureen Story Jones, one of the Company’s co-founders, or Caroline Beddoes who joined Silver Scenes in 1997. The range is heavily influenced by the plants and wildlife found in Mid Wales as well as fairies, nymphs and other mystical creatures.”

I first came across them when i bought a small trinket box at a boot fair a few years back, fell in love with it and have searched for more since but without any success.

What do you think? 

Any other collectors out there?
Gill x

Whats on your workdesk? Wednesday 221

As you can see my workdesk is tidy. (Sorry i know how much that might offend you lot)
It is also boring.
This is because…
*dramatic pause*
I am a lapsed crafter!!
*gasps of horror*
Yes i can finally admit that i have not done any crafting for months now. 
Phew, that feels good.
Instead i have been reading, gardening and doing some family history.
I can feel the stirrings of something crafty though so watch this space and have a fab week.
Now go visit more fun and interesting desks by clicking HERE
Gill x

Fridays smiles – the sky and the earth

Hello all you lovely bloggers, its good to be back sharing my Friday Smiles again.
I’ve had a bit of a break to do some heavy duty family history and it has paid dividends. I may share some of my findings soon on my blog, it has blown me away and made me grateful to be living in the 21st century (is that a teaser or what?)
So, as the title suggests my smiles this week have come from above and below.
Okay i expect you are wondering why i have a photo of lots of black with a white dot in the centre, well, the white dot is the International Space Station which i have been watching go over every evening for the last week. It is such a thrill to see it illuminated by the sun which has long since set on us.
Still up there but much closer to home was a fairly dramatic cloud effect with the sun trying to poke through just before the last rain we had. I adore clouds and love taking pictures of the more unusual ones we see.
coming back down to earth now i always have to smile when my Eucomis or Pineapple Lily is in flower each year. I only get the one stalk but its such a fascinating plant the way the flowers seem to open from bottom to top.
and finally my basil seeds which are doing so well now. The funny thing is i dont even like basil as a herb much but I am sure ill try it in a dish just so i can say i grew it.
Thats me for this week now head over to Annie’s blog for more things to make your face split.
Gill x

Herb garden UPDATE

I have a feeling that the garlic chive seeds i bought may have been duff as they still have not shown themselves so i have re-used those pots and thinned out my basil plants.
I am so pleased with how these are doing and now my two pots of seeds have become eight pots of basil
plus a few more i have re-planted in my lavender tubs.
I figure they should go together okay and make very pleasantly smelly pots.
My marjoram is growing well
and the chive cutting has now split into two bulbs so i may give one back to my lovely sister in law as hers got dug up by a mystery animal.

I’m loving this edible plant growing lark
Gill x

return of the lavender plants

When we moved into this house back in 1991 we had the most gorgeous lavender plant just outside the back door. The smell in late summer was heavenly but it was beginning to get a bit woody in the middle so i cut it all back to what i thought was fresh growth even though i was not and am not a gardener. 
Well you can probably guess that i actually ended up killing it and it never grew back. 
Lately i have been getting back into gardening again with my small herb pots, strawberry plants and geraniums so yesterday when i saw 3 lavender plants for £4 at my local boot fair i just fancied giving them a go. I got one each of three varieties.
Devonshire compact (french lavender)
Madrid Bella Pink
They are in full sun and ive been told not to over water them so, take the secateurs away from me and they may last.
Gill x

WW1 battlefields and fallen ancestors

I have been fascinated by the First World War for over 30 years now ever since i read Vera Brittain’s book ‘A Testament of Youth’ which told of her life as a V.A.D nurse in WW1 and how she tragically lost her brother, fiance and many male friends in the conflict.
Since getting involved with tracing my family history I have begun searching for any ancestors who could have been involved.  A lot of the records have been damaged and lost over time and so out of over 30 possible ancestors i have only found a small handful of records that tell me what happened to them.
Two of them: James William Reynolds and John Lilley are mentioned on the Menin Gate. My friend Penny recently visited the battlefield cemeteries and kindly took these photos for me.
John Lilley was my great grandmother’s nephew. They lived in Bishops Stortford, Herts. He was already a soldier at the outbreak of WW1 having served in Bermuda and Jamaica in 1911. He died at Ypres in 1914.
James William Reynolds was the son of my great grandfather, William James Reynolds from his first marriage to Catherine Fielder. They came from Poplar in Middlesex. He was just 27 when he died in 1916 and according to records both his brothers fell too though i have failed to find any records for them sadly.
Penny also very kindly sent me a lovely package of brochures and postcards from her trip to Belgium. Thank you dear friend.
With the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of WW1 beginning in January next year it is going to be a fascinating time.
Gill x

my mini herb garden and other flowers

Following on from my last post i dragged the hubby to the local garden centre and having decided to start slowly i bought 2 packets of herb seeds.
Some basil and some garlic chives.
I also bought 3 geraniums which were going really cheap, 2 large bags of miracle gro compost and hubby bought a strawberry plant which had 3 strawberries on it. 
I put the geraniums and the strawberry plant in existing planters on the wall of hubbies shed (dont they just love shed’s men?)
And then sowed my herb seeds in small pots which i wanted to store on the patio but needed to keep away from nosy, hungry chickens.
i built a small brick wall round the pots, not cemented together mind you and hubby bent the edges of some wire to put over the top.
Hmm, dont look like much right now do they. Check back in a few weeks and there should be signs of seedlings coming through.
Finally my pineapple Lily plant comes up each year and is so special when the flowers are fully out.
I really do enjoy growing things. Its such a thrill when the first seedling pokes its head through the soil to reach out for the suns warmth and light. 
I am lucky.
Gill x

Grow your own – on a budget

Last weekend we visited my lovely sister in law who has the most amazing veggie garden which she tends every year. Runner beans, tomatoes, leeks, garlic and now this year potatoes and some ginger too and she has inspired me to make a small veggie garden of my own.

I’m going to begin with grow bags or large containers of compost mainly because our garden is rather neglected and has no large dug beds to speak of and I don’t think I want to be digging hard, compacted, dry soil this time of year.

I’ve identified some veggies that can be sown as late as July or even August. Now I just need to find a way to protect the bags from the hens and garden birds who visit us. i thought i would challenge myself to do this for as cheap as i could thus making the veggies grown a real bargain.

I had thought about some netting draped over the bag resting on tall sticks above the plants so making a tent kind of thing and then bricks around the bottom to hold it down. I wondered if I could scrounge some old net curtains from friends and family. We also have a huge roll of wire mesh bought from a friend after they gave up their chooks last year.

I’ve decided I’m going to grow peas, French beans and spinach as they are all really quick and can be picked in 6 weeks or so which is my kind of gardening. I don’t have the patience to wait months for a carrot to grow only to find its no bigger than my thumb when I finally dig it up.

I’ve been reading up online about plants and tidying the patio to make way my purchases.

Let the growing begin.


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