Thursday, 31 January 2013

Giveaway - We Have a Winner...

My random generator has picked out the winner of the six Carol Wilson Note-lets and envelopes, and the two handmade gingham handkerchiefs.

Congratulations to...

of Artful Affirmations!
Thank you all for taking the time to enter.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Simple and Inexpensive Co-ordination

Helen Allingham 'Mother and child outside a country cottage' 19thC watercolour
19th Century Watercolour. Helen Allingham

Adding co-ordination to a room, for little or no expense, can be very satisfying and pleasing to the eye. It can give instant refreshment, like a new coat of paint, or 'bring the room together' in a coherent way, which makes it somewhere more peaceful and relaxing to spend time in.

When you really survey the sitting/living room, there is often something which stands out like a sore thumb. If you like vintage, cosy, cottage or shabby chic, it can be an especial problem. Of course, it is the Television screen. Whether you use it occasionally for watching films, or the latest episode of Downton Abbey, it may need to be in the room for convenience.

I was recently sent some lovely fabric by a friend, which was just the perfect colour theme for me. I love vintage-y pinks and greens, and florals. I decided to make a matching small table runner and TV screen cover in this fabric. This is a very simple and quick project that can be stitched by machine or by hand.

First, I cut a rectangle of fabric to fit my small table. I hemmed around the edges, stitched on a lace edging, and gave it a good press after sprinkling with starch.

To make the TV screen cover, I used the fabric I wanted on the front. and hemmed around the edges. I then stitched some older, plain fabric to this which won't be seen, as it drapes over the back of the television.

Although it isn't a very clear photo, you can see the pink and green rose garland on the top of my Welsh Dresser. 

I hope that those of you who are a little nervous (see posts on creativity Anxiety) might be encouraged to have a go at some simple co-ordinating in your own homes, or inspired to design your own version of TV screen covers. I would love to hear your ideas and experiences of co-ordinating your rooms at home.

Happy co-ordinating, Ladies 

Scroll down to enter my givaway in the previous post. 


What Joy Is Mine

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Heart for Home-making Giveaway

I would be delighted if you would enter my Giveaway.

 The prize will be six beautiful, embossed Note-lets and envelopes from 'Carol Wilson Fine Arts'

(When you buy the sets there are 10 cards included but these 6 are from a pack that I have purchased recently for my own use)

Also included are two gingham handkerchiefs made by myself with hand-stitched lace edging. Just to clarify, the handkerchiefs are not large enough for napkins, they are approximately seven and a half inches by seven and a half inches.

You can enter from anywhere in the world and you don't have to have a blog, but if you don't have a blog, please leave an email address so that I can contact you if you win!

It is easy to enter.

1.You must be (or become) a 'Follower' or 'Member' of Heart for Home-making.

2. You must leave a comment on this post. That is all you need to do. 

3. It is not necessary, but I would be thrilled if some lovely ladies would post the giveaway image on your blogs. thank you for your kindness : )
The closing date is 30th January 2013

The winner will be selected at random.


Friday, 18 January 2013

England's 'White' and Pleasant Land

It has been snowing here in England today

Our Collie cross, Honey, scampered about like a puppy, Snow on her nose.

Can you see the deer in the field?

Here I am under a snowy arbour. Unfortunately I had to swap my skirt for jeans!

Snow day
Fluffy flakes of muffled snow,
bring rosy cheeks, and hearts aglow.
A blanket soft that cuddles round,
and spreads its whiteness on the ground.
Pristine, pure, untouched by hand,
But soon our tracks transform the land.
Or rinsing out the white with rain,
It's then we hope for snow again

(feel free to use any of my poetry, but please attribute it to me. Thank you)

Dear Home-makers.  Just to let you know that I will be having a Giveaway very soon for followers of Heart for Home-making. 

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Tea Bunny

Just a little snippet of fun that I hope you will enjoy

(Not for commercial use)
You are welcome to use this on your site, but please attribute it to me 'Budgeteer' Thank you.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Cheddar Gorge-ous

Cheddar is a very pretty village in Somerset, England

Cheddar Gorge / Cheddar Village .

A narrow valley between hills or mountains, typically with steep rocky walls and a stream running through it.

As a child, a trip to Cheddar Gorge was a real treat. The road you see between the cliffs winds up and up to the top.

  Cheddar Gorge, from above the Pinnacles, Cheddar, Somerset

 Here is the pretty stone bridge at the bottom of the Gorge

 Cheddar 2008

 Would you  like a glass of cider, or a punnet of fresh English strawberries? The Old Cheddar barn will have some...

Shop At Cheddar Gorge

 Cheddar even has it's own thrift shop : ) Oh I do like that kittie


 Watch cheddar cheese being made by hand...

Find out here about the origins of Cheddar cheese


The Original Cheddar Cheese Company

...and then you can buy some!

Is it time for an ice-cream?

Ice-cream trike

You could climb up Jacob's Ladder

 Jacob's Ladder - Cheddar Caves and Gorge  

But I think it will be more pleasant to stroll by the quaint little cottages

 Red berries

Are you adventurous enough to visit Gough's cave?

Gough's Cave

Now it is definitely time for TEA!


 Cheddar tea room

 Or maybe here Cheddar Gorge 2010

Cheddar Gorge Wishing Well
 But of course you know what we will choose don't you? A nice Cream Tea!


Have a gorge-ous day, ladies

Home-making Inspiration - First Impressions Part two

"Please feel free to use my scripture freebie if you would like"

In the first part of 'First Impressions', we considered the visual and sensual impact of the outside of our homes. The front gate and the paths, the cleanliness and order, colours and fragrances that first greet the passers-by and the comers-in. I thought you might like to know that after writing the post, I was inspired to go to my front entrance and have a good fresh look at things myself! In our little planters by the front door I noticed that some overwintered Primroses were looking decidedly scraggy, and there had been rather a lot of chomping by the English bane of gardens, the  'slug'. I will not put the word in large text because it is not very nice to think about. I also saw that my 'invisible' electric lamp that comes on automatically at night, had become covered in spider webs. The image of our inspirational picture from part one 'Independence Avenue' came into my mind and got me to work right away. I purchased a few inexpensive new Primrose plants and set to work. I have learned that little things can make a big difference - they look so cheerful and springlike now. The slugs (and snails) are also on the run. This afternoon will see our electric lamp cover looking clean and welcoming after a going over with some hot soapy water.

The experienced Home-maker will know,  that there is more to 'First Impressions' than meets the eye, of course. 

The picture below...  yes, you've guessed it -by Susan Rios, is entitled 'Impressions' which is so apt isn't it? The lovely Lady Lydia sent me this beautiful  and rather enigmatic picture in an email recently

As Lydia has suggested, I have the feeling that this lady may be awaiting the return of her husband after work. Do you find yourself hovering around the front door around the time your husband is due back? I do. I can't wait for him to come through the door, so I can give him a hug or a kiss and welcome him home.

 What first impression will her husband have when he enters the house? Will he smell the light scent she has just put on, or the feminine dress, and brushed hair ? I wonder how he will feel knowing that she has taken this particular care over herself just for his home-coming? It is sad that when couples are married, they can appear to lose care for their partner, yet take pains to impress people they hardly know. 

Do you see the picture she has hanging in her hall? I think it may be an indication that she values the 'old ways' of living, the feminine clothes, the leading of a quiet life, the joy and settled-ness of reading a good book.

I don't feel from this picture that there is music blaring in the background, but perhaps he can hear a gentle bubbling of hot food on the stove, ready to serve. There is a peaceful air about the scene isn't there? It seems that she has created an oasis where the clamour and stress of the world can be left hanging outside the front door and be forgotten, until tomorrow

Sweet pea (

I tacked on 'Sweet Pea' for your delectation. Flowers are made to be smelled, touched and picked aren't they? A small child might feel they are walking in a wonderland coming to a garden with such an abundance of blooms. I think that having all sorts of flowers, pots and baskets, and squashing them in  a little bit higgledy piggeldy makes a stunning effect. What do you think? Do you like tidy and colour-coordinated, or riot of different colours all over the place?


Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Home-making Inspiration. First Impressions

Independence Avenue. (
I have to admit that I am so enjoying this subject, that I couldn't wait to look for more artwork that might inspire and motivate our home-making in 2013.

Not being able to decide which of two pictures to choose for 'First Impressions', I have opted for both and have made this post into two parts. Here is another gorgeous work by Susan Rios entitled 'Independence Avenue'. (I have had to make this larger so the image is a little blurry - which gives it a dreamy quality I think!) It is clear that anyone would be most enchanted by the first impression they have of this house. Maybe there is a little wooden gate with a latch that we lift, and then we can walk a short distance along old, but clean-swept flagstones to the small shady porch. The home-maker here may have pretended to be a visitor to her own house, checking that her gate is in good working condition and clean- painted, or, if unpainted, the wood  varnished and maintained. It is a funny thing that gates and mailboxes and so on, become invisible to those who see them every day - but are very visible to others who pass that way.

  I am reminded of that old adage 'A stitch in time, saves nine'. How good it can feel to lovingly polish and maintain these items, when you know what an impression they will make. Maybe then they wouldn't be invisible to the home-maker any more. Every time she looked at them, she would feel happy and contented that they didn't appear neglected. A daily sweep of the path doesn't have to be a chore, but can be a labour of love. A swish over with a besom broom each morning - and it's done.

The visitor to this delightful house could not fail to be cheered by the many pots of flowers and greenery climbing up the house and tumbling around in glorious abundance. Wherever we call home has a place for plants and flowers somewhere. Do not be discouraged if you have planted lots of flowers, but it doesn't look much like the garden here. I didn't realise that gardens take a few years to become fully established. It is a good idea to plant things that will have some colour all year round, climb up walls, fences or trellis, and hang a basket or two from the walls.

As I look at 'Independence Avenue' I wonder why it looks so friendly and inviting. Is it the well-maintained path and general cared-for look of the place? Is it the bombardment of flowers that greet the eyes? (and the fragrances the greet the nose) perhaps the tastefully arranged pots, or that hard edges and corners have been softened by natural greenery. My personal opinion is that the Home-maker has enjoyed, loved, considered and spent time creating this inviting, fragrant first impression for her family, visitors, people passing by, the weary soul and the weary spirit in need of refreshment. She has a heart for home-making.

I could not resist adding this sweet artwork by Stephen Darbishire. 'On Guard' It has a quaint 'English Cottage' appeal. Purposely a little overgrown, yet you feel welcome and want to scamper in with the puppy and join the family for a large pot of tea and slab of cake fresh from the oven!

The second part of 'First Impressions' will feature another Susan Rios work. I hope to post it in a day or two. 

Happy home-making ladies.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Home-making inspiration - M.E.N.

Kroyer, Peder Severin (1851-1909) - 1881 The Hirshsprung Family
Kroyer, Peder Severin 1851-1909

You may be surprised to find this painting featuring in our home-making inspiration theme.

In our imaginations, we home-makers often view the cabbage roses and the chintz and the bone china, and the lace, as the only components required to create a lovely and relaxing home. It is true that we can enjoy and delight in these beautiful things. Our families and guests will love the cheerful, welcoming touches when they arrive from the 'not so cheerful and welcoming world' outside.

But I think that it is important to remember that members of the male sex are represented in many homes today!, and that we must take this into consideration when planning our home-making.

The painting above was a portrait of 'The Hirshsprung Family, and painted in 1881 by the Norwegian-Danish Artist. So how can we glean any Home-making inspiration for 2013 from it? 

I noticed two important things going on in the picture. The first is that the family were enjoying being together as a family. they were relaxing, content, and there is a sense that each feels secure within the family unit. It doesn't seem like the men are in a hurry to rush away and leave the home to the girls. I wonder if  Mrs Hirshsprung had nurtured the ritual of the family getting together each day on the pleasant balcony? Perhaps she provided small refreshments, newspapers and reading material, ready and waiting for them, knowing that they will tarry a while.

The other thing that struck me is that she and her husband are exuding a reassuring atmosphere to the scene. And yet, it is very subtle. Peace and security has been established by their presence. When the home-maker is present in the home, she can exude that peace simply by her presence .

I have often read accounts from children who talk about how they felt knowing that mother was in the house. It was so important to them, that she be there. We may feel that we are present at home, but are we like Mrs Hirshsprung, our focus truly on our home-making and carefully watching over our family? Are we listening to what they are saying, and conversing with them? (not with one eye on the computer)

The mother and daughter sit together at the table, with some kind of needlework. But all the while, Mrs Hirshsprung is quietly keeping a watchful eye on - and looks rather proud of - her young daughter's progress. Just as she had provided refreshments and newspapers beforehand, she had arranged that they have what they need for a happy mother, daughter creativity.

The outside area of their home has some tasteful greenery, giving a little privacy and sense of nature to the scene.

Some home-makers may feel unhappy that they do not have a lot of land or even a garden where they live. But I have come to think that this can be an advantage when creating our little oases for our families. A balcony or small garden is intimate and brings people together. If someone wants to read or sit quietly for a while, you can put a chair and cushion under a weeping willow, or beside a wood-panelled fence, which has honeysuckle or clematis climbing up it. Plants in pots can be moved around to ring the changes. A tent can be erected to make a good den to play in. As well as intimacy, small areas are easier to keep orderly, and a small balcony or yard can be swept clean in a minute, ready for tomorrow. 

The canny home-maker will ensure that the men in her household are not forgotten amongst the chintz 

I hope that this larger print is more easy on the eyes ladies. 

Friday, 4 January 2013

Inspiration for Home-making in 2013

Have you been introduced to the uplifting and romantic paintings of Susan Rios? I discovered them when I began to visit Lady Lydia's Home Living blog

I find these paintings inspire me in my own home-making plans. They help to form pictures and feelings which can be helpful in creating our own homes and beautiful living goals, for the shiny new year ahead.

Taking one picture at a time can be useful. Let's examine the image above as an example.
Can you picture yourself at a table near the window with a clean, fresh tablecloth? Maybe it means putting your little table nearer to the light and finding some lacy fabric to lay over the top. 

Can you imagine how pleasant it would be to sit there and pen a thank-you note to someone, and to know of the pleasure that someone would feel when it landed on their doormat on a gloomy day?  Maybe you could place a small box of notelets, pen and postage stamps ready for a quiet few minutes of writing.

How beautiful are the delicate roses, the inviting tea-pot and the comfy cushion. Imagine how sweet the fragrance of the flowers and the refreshing taste of tea served in a china cup. Roses can be very expensive, but maybe a single rose in a small vase, or some cheerful seasonal blooms like spring daffodil's, would brighten the room, and the hearts of your family and visitors. Teapots and china cups and saucers can be found in thrift shops (great fun finding these inexpensive treasures). Perhaps there is some fabric lying around that can update a cushion? It doesn't have to be sewn perfectly. I find it is not always best to worry about things showing the dirt, or being scared to use the nice china.

The lady is of attractive appearance, her hair, her clothes, and the pretty handkerchief or napkin shows the care she has taken over herself.  Can you imagine how you would feel if you looked your best for the day at home? Instead of casual jeans or jogging pants and trainers, how would it feel to slip on a feminine dress, protected by an apron on top for morning cleaning? Some low heeled court shoes that are comfortable yet feminine. Cut out and hem some cotton fabric and sew lace around the edges - and you have a pretty handkerchief.

Notice the serene expression she has. Maybe she has planned her day well beforehand, and not tried to cram so much in, that she is a frazzled mess by lunchtime. Perhaps she hasn't been stressed and upset by watching depressing news programmes three times a day, or read the nasty gossip on Facebook. Maybe she has taken a gentle walk in the fresh air or prayed or read the Bible quietly to calm her and cheer her. What things can we do today towards our own serenity at home?

I hope to do another post like this featuring her painting. Please let me know what you think.

Happy Home-making ladies  

 PS Every time I visit here, I enjoy the little cat on the right, who purrs and swipes as I move my mouse around it. Do any of you enjoy it too?

What Joy Is Mine