Gardenpinks' Blog

This, that and life!

Archive for the month “May, 2011”

Another garden tour …

It is raining today! Now we are grateful for rain as it has been very dry in our area but we had plans for today and someone wasn’t listening; we asked for a 24 hour delay on the rain however in true British tradition down came the wet stuff on a Bank holiday Monday! Que sera, sera. 

It has given me an opportunity to catch up a little on all those jobs that are relegated to a lower position, those fiddly things to do that seem so unimportant when the weather is decent and the lawns badly mowing or the weeds need hoicking out of the ground. Today I can do a spring clean on the computer – delete the junk and file everything else properly and do a back up. Today I can write nonsensically on my blog. Today I can mess about with stamps and ink so there is something to be grateful to rain for.

Talking of messing about with ink – a couple of days ago my hands looked as those they belonged to a martian. I was using some sprays of sparkly colour to create some background papers using pieces of kitchen towel; not having a pizza type box for spraying the next best thing was the deep lid off a plastic container but the kitchen towel had to be pressed into the spray colours and voila – greeny blue hands. It has taken almost two days to rid my hands of their new colour scheme even hair washing didn’t remove the stains. There is still a faint tinge here and there, reminiscent of mould!

Enough of this nonsense! Before I do the garden tour I’d like to show you the box for the wedding album and the wedding card.

The box itself was constructed out of white card on the top of the lid I adhered a mat of both burgundy and gold pearlescent cardstock and then using two die cuts cut in half layered those on top of the cardstock – trying to keep with the wedding colour theme of ivory and burgundy. The initials started out as plain wood; these were inked up with Versamark and gold embossing powder added but that looked too flat. More Versamark was dabbed over the heated embossing powder and ultra thick embossing powder added and melted, a second coat of ultra thick ep was sprinkled over whilst still warm and more gold ep and the whole lot melted. This gave the impression of metal letters. The ampersand was printed onto plain paper, cut out an glittered with a Sakura gel pen.

wedding album box

The wedding card – well I winged that to an extent. Hadn’t a clue what to do! The silhouette is printed onto slightly glossy photo paper and adhered to the inside of the card.

wedding card

The rose is handmade with pearls glued to the centre with Glossy Accents and two beaded pins tucked in behind, the rose has been sprayed with mica to give a slight shine.

close up of rose

Now for the flowers!

Smiley faces - Pansies


more pansies


blue geranium




 Bees love the gernaiums and lupins; I just couldn’t resist this shot:

Bee on lupins



Columbines (granny's bonnets) & sweet rocket


Welsh poppy








That’s it for now folks, see y’all soon!


Stand back…..

…and be amazed! Yes two posts in one day and then not another for months 🙂

A few weeks ago DH & I took photographs of some of the spring flowers in our garden and I promised Leslie I’d put them on my blog, I never seem to have got around to it even though Leslie has dropped ruddy great hints! Sorry Leslie, hope the wait was worth it.

white daffodils

There are several large drifts of these around the garden, yes we do have yellow ones too. At the last count we had around 28 different daffodils and in large quantities in the garden; I chose so many different ones as these were the first flowers to open for cutting, when we used to sell cut flowers then the daffodils were very useful. I would cut hundreds every week and make up bunches of them with added greenery. We had daffodils from second week of March through to the beginning of May – of course that all depended on the weather and this year the daffodils, along with all the spring flowers, went over very quickly. The unseasonably warm spring brought the flowers on quickly and most spring flowers are more used to a cooler, damper climate consequently the flowering time was shortened.

Our next stalwarts for cut flowers were the tulips; I love tulips in their various colours and shapes except for the double-flowered varieties!


primroses and tulips



Tulips and pot

The large pot that can be seen is a terracotta strawberry pot and stands approximately 3 feet tall. I’ve never grown strawberries in it but it is planted up with thymes, small hardy geraniums and a double-flowered unusual (small white double flowers) Campanula (bellflower). Those tulips were wonderful this year and so cheerful in their boldness, it is difficult to see in these photos but the yellow ones had faint red streaks on some of the petals.

crown imperials

 Crown Imperials are majestic plants, they push themselves through the soil as early as possible. The leaves and bulbs have a very distinctive smell, difficult to describe although some garden writers say the plants smell “foxy” well all I can to say to that is that those writers have never experienced the smell foxes leave behind! The plants flower at around 30 inches tall, large downward facing bells with a crown or tuft of leaves; we have yellow and orange flowering ones.

spring flower mix

 There is a mixture here! At the back is a heavenly smelling viburnum shrub – balls of white flowers tinged with pink, nearby is another shrub called spiraea and in front are more tulips with the remainder of the hyacinths that have just finished flowering. This little corner is close to a path so we enjoyed all the lovely scents as we walked along here.

stone trough

 Set in the middle of one of the lawned areas this stone trough, planted up with thymes and a small rose, acts as a traffic island when the grandchildren come over to play! The children whizz down the bank above the trough on their tricycles and go either side of the trough – great fun!

Leaopards Bane

 Doesn’t this mass planting look cheerful? These plants are called Leopards Bane, so called as they are supposed to deter leopards and they must work as I’ve never seen a leopard in the garden!


 The first clematis to flower in this garden, it grows up the west side of the house wall through a rose and also twines itself around a hydrangea. Such a beautiful blue flower.

crab apple

 Can’t believe how early the apple blossom was this year, usually it is just thinking of opening whereas this year it has now finished! This is a beautiful tree with deep red leaves, dark pink flowers and produces prodigious amounts of small red apples. I have in the past made crab apple jelly with the fruit of this tree and delicious it is too. Behind this tree are two other apple trees – a cooker and an eater.

Liam & Dylan

 Liam and Dylan after whizzing down the bank, we then have to haul Dylan out of the trailer, where he is firmly wedged, so that Liam can push the whole ensemble back up the bank where Dylan is reinstated and off they go again! The trike and trailer are not a pair – the trike is an old one that permanently resides here for the children’s use and the trailer is brought along when Liam and Dylan come visiting, the trailer is then wired to the trike!

Liam drawing

 Dylan has gone to bed so Liam is indulging in some art work 🙂

Brimstone butterfly

The brimstone butterfly is one of the first butterflies to come out hibernation and one of the most difficult to photograph as it always closes its wings on alighting to imitate a leaf. This picture doesn’t do it any justice as it is a beautiful sulphur yellow – hence its name. Well the male is a beautiful sulphur yellow, the female is much less paler in colour but they both have red spots on their underwings.

The following pic doesn’t look much but is very interesting – well we found it very interesting!! It was something we had never seen before.

woven stems

We were sat out in the garden enjoying a cup of tea, the sunshine and the birdsong when DH noticed some long slim insects flying past and seemingly to land on a patch of ground nearby. He went for a closer look to see what the insects were and what they were doing; the long slim insects turned out to be a small bee, about the size of your small finger’s nail carrying these dead stems. Some of those stems measured 3 inches; the little bee then wove the stems in and around others already in place. Absolutely fascinating to watch and something we had never witnessed before. At first we thought it was more than one bee and that they were putting a cover over the nest site but it transpired that it was only one bee and that once finished the bee disappeared. We can only think that it was a solitary bee that had laid an egg or eggs below the soil surface and was covering the area against weather and possibly predators. We have other solitary bees that make small holes in the soil and these are usually recognised by a small pyramid of soil with a tiny hole in the top; the leaf cutter bee, another solitary, cuts out semi circles of leaves, makes a tube out of the cut leaf and stuffs these into holes – bottom of flowers pots is a good place – then lays eggs and puts in a food supply and closes up the entrance of the tubes. Isn’t nature marvellous?

Hope I haven’t bored you all rigid! xx


Look what I found……

You know how it goes, your other half asks where a certain item is and you just know for sure it is lurking in that overstuffed hidey hole. How to ascertain that it is definitely there though? After all one is in danger of all sorts of injuries if that cupboard door is opened as all the contents threaten to fall out. Whenever there is the necessity to do a quick clean up because visitors are due shortly then there is always a particular cupboard or drawer that is hurriedly opened and several things are rammed or slung in and the door banged shut quickly.

Well DH asked for a certain item and I knew my luck had run out, I was just going to have to get down and dirty and clear that cupboard out. The first things to fall out was a huge bundle of various  computer cables – what the heck do we need 6 USB printer cables for? We only have one printer. There are several modem cables – why? And I couldn’t even name the many other cables I discovered. So what did I do? Threw them away as utter junk of course, erm, well actually I tidily rolled them up and stuffed them into a space in a drawer – well you never know when they might be useful!

I never did find that certain item that DH was hunting for, of course not because I remembered afterwards, while stuffing cables in the drawer, that was the hidey place for the certain item. Never mind at least the cupboard is now tidy and everything can be seen BUT what I did discover was some atcs I did years ago and had forgotten about. Here they are:

underwater ATC

Please don’t ask me at this juncture what inks, etc I used on these because I have been to sleep since making them! I do know that I used tiny little shells that we collected when on holiday in the Isles of Scilly – I only collect the very smallest shells! I also used seed beads to represent the sand and some teardrop rhinestones for fish.  The little fronds pretending to be sea weed are strands of moss.

stampbord atc

 A rectangular piece of stampbord (not a spelling mistake) was inked then stamped with a partial image and then some of the ink scraped off to create white areas. I stamped a peacock feather on a small rectangle bead and added a small length of chain and a charm.

butterfly atc

 This ATC was made with torn scraps of paper adhered to the ATC sized cardstock, some teardrop gems added, a Chinese coin and two stamped butterflies.

I went through a period of making ATCs just for the fun of it, I have swapped one or two. These three were residing in a special atc-wallet-in-a box along with a couple of others that aren’t worth photographing 🙂

Now for something a little different – you recall the framed picture I created? It is somewhere on this blog where I made the frame from aluminium tape that I embossed. Well I finally got around to finishing the other one!

photo frame
I made the frame in the same way as I made  the first one.
To put names to the photos here we go, starting at the top left corner and going across the top line: Kim (grand-daughter), Brian & Ruth (SIL & daughter), Joe (grandson) – Kim and Joe are Brian and Ruth’s children.
Bottom row starting at the left: Liam (grandson), Darren & Jill (sil & daughter), Dylan (grandson). Ruth and Jill are twins, difficult to see in the photographs here but they look very much alike apparently. I say apparently because to me they look very different and they certainly have different characters.
Hope you all haven’t fallen asleep by now!
Thanks for stopping by xx

Wedding album finished

Wedding album

Well it is finally finished! I am now awaiting delivery of some A3 size cardstock to make the box for the album. The album covers are 30 cm x 18.5cm (approximately 12″ x 7.5″) and are constructed from greyboard covered with ivory pearlescent paper and burgundy metallic paper. Leslie can you spot one of the charms you sent me? It is nestled amongst the ribbon on the spine – a heart shaped charm that I have used gold Goldfinger on (similar to rub ‘n’ buff ). The hanging sign is a Bigz die cut by Tim Holtz; I die cut two brackets, one in white gold pearlescent cs and another in a very deep red cs and then adhered them together slightly off so that it gives a drop shadow effect. The script on the frame took ages of fiddling around on the computer to get it just as I wanted it and then printing it out several times until I had the right font size! Doing that probably was the most time-consuming, it certainly was the most frustrating!

Once I had the font size sorted and the wording right and double, nay triple, checked I had the date right I could then adhere the frame over the wording on the printer paper and put it back through the printer and it came out not too bad at all. I used an old necklace chain to attach the frame to the bracket with glossy accents.

The bouquet of flowers was made up from several different sprays and adhered with glossy accents, then the chiffon type fabric was taped down over the top and a few extra flowers added to the fabric to cover up a glue mark 🙂 I noticed that there is a small glue mark showing so just might have to add a touch more glue and sprinkle glitter over it.

Inside are 10 sheets of cardstock with smaller strips of cardstock added in between each page at the spine end to give thickness here to allow for any embellishments or keepsakes to be added and each page has a covering of thick tissue – all acid & lignin free – to help protect the photos. I hadn’t got a clue what to do on the pages (no change there then!), didn’t know whether to stamp them, leave them bare or what. So I edged them with a gold Krylon-type pen and then decided to stamp and emboss images on each page. I didn’t want to do too much as this album is for Darren and Jill to put in whatever they want as a memento of their wedding day. The following photos are just a sample of the images I stamped & embossed and two of the photos are blurry for which I apologise!

phrase stamped on album page


B Lines Design bird stamp


ivy leaves


peacock feathers


Thanks for looking xx

Chateau Impney

Chateau Impney Hotel

The Chateau Impney Hotel has always been my fairy castle. When Rod and I were courting back in 1973  he would drive me, in his red VW Beetle, back to my home in Birmingham from Gloucestershire at night. At one point the Chateau Impney Hotel could be see from the motorway as it was lit up at night giving it the appearance of a fairy castle. The one hour’s drive back to my parents home was highlighted by the view of ‘my’ fairy castle and the inevitable discussion of one day staying there.Time went on and one day the subject of the Chateau came up in conversation and we thought why not go there for our wedding anniversary; our house was soon going on the market and when we moved further south it could possibly mean not realising my dream.Last year for our 37th wedding anniversary our daughters clubbed together and paid for a room for us as a present. To make the event even more nostalgic one of our daughters loaned us her silver VW Beetle, her pride and joy! This Beetle is one of the last 300 plus made and has a numbered plaque on the dashboard to record this information. Yes there are newer versions of the VW Beetle but this silver one is the real McCoy! (Shelly if you look closely at the top photo in the bottom left hand corner you will see the Beetle).The Chateau Impney really is a fairy castle and you can have a feel for the splendour of the building when you step inside even though more modern additions have been added to the original and there was never a hotel reception desk in the Chateau! The grand sweeping staircase of solid wood is sill there though and if you have a good imagination you can ‘see’ the elegant ladies in their beautiful gowns descending that magnificent staircase.

road leading up to the Chateau Impney

 The Chateau Impney was built by a chap who made his money from salt mines. He visited France and fell in love with a French governess. They both admired the chateaux of Versailles and he decided to build his own château for him and his wife. The Chateau is surrounded by 150 acres of land in a parkland style with large trees dotted around and lovely lattice style bridges over the many streams. Immediately around the Chateau are formal gardens; one garden (seen above to the left of the road) contains a ‘canal’ with a fountain, a little further along is a small bridge over an equally small stream. To the front of the Chateau is a set of stone steps with more formal gardens leading to a large ornate fountain. During the 1800s fountains, canals and streams were still very much in vogue in the gardens of the wealthy; water features were a status symbol.

Ornate Fountain

 Standing by the fountain gives a view across parkland to the road. Much of the parkland is now home to grazing animals – sheep, horses and cattle – it would be far too costly these days to hire grass mowers but during the heyday of the chateau labour would have been plentiful and cheap.



Sheep and lambs

I have no idea what breed of sheep these are, they certainly all looked content and well fed!

When we booked in and were settling into our room there was a knock at the door, on answering it the manager came in and said he understood one of the bathroom taps wasn’t working properly and could he please check it. He found it wasn’t working and apologised profusely saying he would put us into another room. Off he went to get keys for another room and within a few minutes he was back with the under manager, between them they carried our luggage and escorted us to another room still profusely apologising. On arrival at our ‘new’ room the manager asked if the room was suitable for us because if not we could have a suite for the same price – this we declined as the suite was in the newer buildings and we wanted to stay in the Chateau proper – and we said that the room suited us well so the manager insisted on us having a bottle of wine ‘on the house’ with our evening meal! Just couldn’t fault the service at all.
After our evening meal we were served coffee in the lounge area of the bar and then we had a stroll around the gardens and watched the lights coming on to light up the whole facade of the chateau.
We had a lovely time at my fairy castle; the service was excellent, lovely food and very friendly staff all in  beautiful surroundings. We couldn’t resist parking the Beetle in front of the hotel entrance.
Hotel entrance

Just for you Shelly!!!!

 Himself  with his favourite vehicle. VW Beetles are much-loved in our family and certainly nostalgic as far as Rod and I are concerned – Rod proposed to me in a Beetle! He also spent many years of his working life as a Volkswagen trained mechanic working on them and other continental cars such as Porsches, Mercedes, VW Transporters and VW Campers (Caravettes).
Hope you realise your dream Shelly. We once went on a week’s holiday with three children and all our luggage in a Beetle!
Thanks for reading x 

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