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Updated: 2018-03-06T01:18:07.619-08:00


Belgian Style: Make It Yours Part 1


I had a whale of a time on Friday. Did you enjoy yourself at the Inspiration Journey Link party, either as a linker or as a looker?But, really, I think we were all lookers. So many beautiful dresses, I tell you. Goodness me, rarely have I seen so much loveliness in one place. You stunner, you. ;-)I was going, and even started, to collate all my favourite images to show you in today's blog post but then I thought of all the prettification that I'd have to leave out. Inspiration Journeys just seem too personal to pick and choose 'Best Of's, don't you agree? I hope that you got a huge dose of extra-curricular mojo-boosting activity on Friday, getting lots of inspiration from blogs you hadn't visited before, as well as haunting old favourites. I certainly did. I said on Friday that I'd be looking in more detail at Belgian Style and breaking it down to make it more accessible for my home.{While Belgian Style is totally my current Style Crush, it's not a look I'd *actually* choose for my home. Does that make sense?}I love the feel of it, the mood it creates and the look of some of the images but I think my children, in particular, would find the look too austere and formal.So I'll be doing a gorgeous series, which I can't wait to unfold for you, about how to take the very best of Belgian Style and add it, in little bits and pieces, in a way that works for YOU. Not as a showcase for an architect in Belgium, but in your home and in my home, in our every day lives. Today, I'm starting off with wood. It's on my list as one of the defining features of Belgian style. Raw, untreated wood. The lack of any paint or decoration draws attention to its natural beauty. The grain, the texture and the colour.So, can we make this look work for you?Is brass bold?If you don't like the thought of bleaching and scrubbing then this isn't going to be your bag. But where there's a will there's a way, my friend. The question is: how?Please meet your new best friends: wax, oil and matte varnish. These will give wood the look of seeming untreated but will protect your pieces from dirt and stains.{In my case, little fingers covered with jam. Aaaargh.}Just look at all the ideas there are here to add the warmth and tactility to your homes. Even small touches make a big difference.chairs, trunks, shelves, worktops, floors, lamps, tables, mirrors, headboards, cupboards, baths....You can weave untreated wood (or, at least, the impression of it) into so many looks. You don't need to limit this to Belgian Style. In my next post, I'll be sharing how I've taken my love of untreated wood and made it work for me in my Modern Country home. I'd love to hear what you think.Anne at Birdlike is hosting a fantastic mood board party. Fancy a peep? Flamant, Kate Foreman, Lonny, House Beautiful, Homes & Gardens, Beautiful Kitchens, 25 Beautiful Homes, 46 Farmhouse, Anna Malin, Casaanversa, Cote De Texas, Drummonds, Living etc, House of Fraser, Homes & Gardenss, Ideal HomeI'm linking to my favourite parties listed in my sidebar.[...]

Stone Forest - Nature is the Best Creator (Part 2)...



Funny Home Appliances - Creative Kitchen Products...



Wreath Friday Link Party!


Hello poppett,I am loving. your. outfit. So gorgeous.Welcome to Modern Country Style's Inspiration Journey Linky Party.Shall we sit down for a moment and have a recap of the week? Want a cuppa tea? Hot chocolate with mountains of whipped cream, sprinkled chocolate and marshmallows? Wine? Mmmmm, yeah, thought so. :-)Now then. On Monday, I showed you my Book Art inspiration images. Weren't the sculptures mind-boggling?On Tuesday, I shared my hopes for entertaining in our garden this summer, using Al Fresco dining images.And then, yesterday, I hope you enjoyed my post about How To Create Belgian Style.What I love about blogs that use Inspiration Images is watching how they use the images to help shape their own thoughts.Seeing how this image of a beautiful veranda...might spark an idea as simple as this for eating outdoors....Or how looking at pictures of Belgian Style......might be the beginning of designing a room that borrows heavily from that look but becomes what *you* want.Images via: Brian Dettmer, Kylie Stillman, House Beautiful, Food & Travel, The White Company, Belgian Pearls, The White Company Inspiration ideas aren't there to dictate what we should be doing but I like to think of them as a spring board to finding out what *I* want to do with my home, or my crafts, or my wardrobe, or my garden.In the next couple of weeks, I'll be sharing in more detail about how to make Belgian Style work for YOU by creating a softened version of the look that can work in any home.Plus, I've been working on some crochet projects that I'd love to show you.Oh, and I want to have a brainstorm about accent colours in the kitchen as part of the Kitchen Makeover series.My mind is all a-buzz. So, tell me, what flips your flops?You can link up Inspiration posts for crafts, your home, garden, clothes....really and truly, whatever inspires you.Here are two things I'd love you to do. 1) Follow Modern Country Style if you're liking what you see here. 2) Link back to me in your post so other people can come and share the love. Not rules...but I'm hopeful. ;-)Now, take it away..... (just click on the button and follow the instructions and give me a shout if you need a hand)...[...]

Wreath Week: Cinnamon and Orange Wreath Tutorial


Welcome back to Wreath Week. Just one more day to go until my very first linky party. {Eeeeek! }If you'd like to proudly wear a Wreath Friday Party button on your blog, it's just over to the right on my sidebar. All the cool blogs are doing it, dontcha know? And you want to be cool, right?{Oh, my marketing skills are just pure wizardry, aren't they? ;-)}The time has come to present to you my all time favourite wreath in the whole wide world ever. It sums up everything that's traditionally Christmassy. Cinnamon and orange together are a match made in heaven, don't you agree? Extreme yumminess.With this wreath, I worked in the opposite direction from the natural wreath. With this one, I started with the bigger items, the bunches of cinnamon, and worked down because this wreath doesn't need to be covered in the same way as the last. This is what you need to make this exact one:A totally stunning Wreath base - I have heard a rumour that there's a great tutorial knocking about somewhere....ahem!!Dried orange slicesCinnamon sticksRaffiaPine conesBendy wireAs a quick aside, do you know how to make dried orange slices? You just buy some cheap-as-chips BIG oranges and slice them through the middle to get the star shape of the segments.{Take out as many of those dang pips as you can.}Now, the trick is to get every last drop of juice out by drying them VERY sloooooowly...otherwise they go mouldy, which I think we all agree is not a good look on a Christmas wreath.... Lay them on a tray and pop them in the oven on its lowest temperature for a day or so. {Yes, really, that long.}Alternatively, put them on a plate in the microwave and set it to its lowest power for about 3 hours. {Hooray for Mr Microwave.}Still quite long but the bonus is that it fills the house with a lovely orangey smell. Yum!Now......onwards and upwards to the Cinnamon and Orange Wreath tutorial....Step 1Take small bunches of cinnamon sticks and trim them down to the size you'd like your bunches to be. Wrap some raffia several times around each bunch and tie really, really firmly. Yes, really, really, reeeeally firmly.{Unless you want to lose them later on...}Loop a piece of wire through the raffia and attach the wire to the wreath base by twisting it round the stems.I've used five bunches of cinnamon...but I am a total cinnamon maniac so feel free to use less.Step 2Using an awl, poke a whole in the end of the pine cones. Pop a piece of wire with glue on in the little hole and leave to set. Twist the other end of the wire around the wreath base. Step 3Now use the oranges to fill in the gaps. It doesn't need to be completely and utterly covered. The gorgeous base you've made (Have you made one yet? Have you? Have you?) ties in so beautifully with the colours of the cinnamon, oranges and pine cones that it becomes one big wreath of scrumptialiciousness.It looks weird just having one little orange slice all in its own so I pile them up in groups of three or four slices together. Poke a piece of wire in through one segment and out through another. Do this slice by slice and wrap the end of the wire around the wreath stems to attach the oranges. OR you can poke a piece of wire through three or four slices at a time and them attach them all together to the wreath. Both methods give slightly different effect so I did a mixture of the two.{I like to live dangerously, don't I?!}And there you have it. A homemade, gorgeously lovely Christmassy Cinnamon and Orange wreath!Ta-daaaaah!I wish I could explain how beautiful it looks and smells in real life. The heady scents mingle in the air as you walk past it. And the colours just glow.I'm off to Harrods in London today for a spot of Christmas shopping! Yes, I do that most days, you know.{NOT!}See you tomorrow at my Friday Wreath party. I've picked out my dress already.....and I have matching shoes!  I'm linking up to my f[...]

Wreath Week: Naturally Beautiful


Welcome, my lovelies, to ...DAY TWO OF WREATH WEEK!!Are you getting dolled up for Friday's Wreath link party? It's my first ever and I'd love you to be there with me. Thank you SO much to those of you who've posted my Wreath Friday button on your blogs. I've put a copy of the button on the top of my sidebar, if any of you would like to join in the fun!And what have I got for you today?Taaaaa-dahhhh.....This wreath-making session is for those of you that like something a little more natural at Christmas-time.Have you seen this beauty from Pottery Barn? Now's your chance to make your very own!Although, a friend of a friend of a friend has been known to leave wreaths up all year.{Alright, you got me, that was moi...}Natural wreaths are easy-peasy to make.All you need are dried flowers and some glue...oh, and your home-made freebie wreath base from yesterday's post! It's best to think of these natural wreaths in terms of having three layers on the base.The first layer's purpose is for general coverage. This should be in a neutral colour in order to show the other layers off to their best advantage. You could try something like sage but I like santolina stems best. I love the white-grey colour and they're so easy to work with.Layer two is the supporting role, made up of one or two different types of small-ish flowers or seed heads. This layer provides some colour and prettiness to the wreath without detracting from layer three! My wreath uses lavender for layer two, which adds a beautiful fragrance too.{It also makes getting your hands covered in glue that much more enjoyable when you're surrounded by a heavy fug of gorgeous scent.}And the final layer is the star of the show! Beautiful flowers or seed heads that draw your eye and give the wreath the wow-factor! Here I used large dried hydrangeas that only have a touch of their pinkness left. SO pretty.{I have a thing about hydrangeas.}Don't worry too much about your choices, though. As long as your chosen flowers dry well, just go with what you love. I love using flowers from my garden here in England so I just work with what's available.So, now we've chosen our three layers, we're ready to begin!Tie any hanging ribbon or raffia to the wreath before you start adding flowers because it's a nightmare to put in afterwards.{So speaks the sad voice of experience....}Taking a stem from layer one, dip the end into the pva glue and push it into the wreath. Repeat with more and more stems, overlapping each one with the previous, until all the base is covered.Then, take small bunches of your layer two choice and continue the process. Glue, push in, glue push in... Finally, put in three or five of your layer three flowers, equally spaced, round your wreath.I've only chosen photos of the finished wreath this time because gluing photos aren't much to look at!! Oooh, pretty wreath, I love you!...and I'm linking up to lovely Holly's party at Homebody.Next time, I'll be sharing how to make a more typically Christmassy wreath. It's my absolute favourite!!Cinnamon and Oranges anyone?I'm partying with my favourite girls in the sidebar. [...]

Wreath Week: Make Your Own Wreath Base


Welcome to Wreath Week! After today's post, you'll know everything you need in order to make a gorgeous natural wreath base, you lucky things!{And did I mention free?}They're pretty quick to do once you know how and the best thing is, the base can easily be made from prunings from your garden, or the local countryside. {And did I mention gorgeous?}Then, over the next few days, I'll share how I've made several different styles of wreath: from the lovely and natural to the super-duper festive!!On Friday, I'm going to have a Wreath Party for people to link up all your beautiful wreaths. And guess what? You're ALL invited! Yes, I've made my first ever button to celebrate my Wreath Party. {Oh my goodness, I can't even begin to tell you how long this took me...}Please would you mind putting this button on your sidebar to spread the word? {If you have Blogger, just copy the html in the box below the button and paste into the html widget on your side bar in the design page of your Dashboard}. THANK YOU!Wreath bases can be made from any long and pliable stems. The best kind to use are willow, honeysuckle, vines and ivy but if you know another kind of tree with long bendy stems that needs a cut, then by all means use those!!{Okay, ready? Do you have your stems? Then off we go....}Step 1Start off with three or four long stems, which will end up being roughly the circumference of your finished wreath. Lay them out in parallel but stagger them slightly, like this:Tie them together together once at each end with jute string.One end......and then the other end...Step 2 Now bend the whole thing round to form a circle. Let the ends cross over at the top....and tie together where the two ends cross over.Pull the loose ends down each side of the circle, twisting them round the rest of the stems.......and tie in place with jute string.Please don't worry if at this point it's all looking rather messy and not very circular. The beauty of this method is that the shape is made firmer as more stems are added.{See? Mine is pretty messy at this stage, even though I've done it lots of times before...}Step 3Now, get another stem and poke the thicker end into a gap in the wreath base to secure it. Use the less pliable stems at first and leave the very bendy ones until the end.Here, I am poking my stem into the wreath base:And in it goes...Start wrapping it around the other twigs. The easiest way to do that is to bend it gently through the middle if the circle..... ...and out the other side, and then bend it round again gently, up and over the outside of the wreath, in through the middle of the circle, and out the other side. Towards the end of the stem, it's usually much more pliable and can be wrapped more tightly without the risk of breaking it.  ...but if it does snap...and some probably doesn't matter one jot. Either tuck it in as neatly as you can, or take it out altogether, and start again with a new stem.When you get to the end, just tuck it into the other stems in the wreath base to secure it. And then repeat with the next stem.And the next....wrapping each stem in and out of the centre of the circle as many times as you can.With each stem, take a step back and see which part of the wreath most needs shaping and then concentrate on that part. For example:Can you see that my wreath is wonky here:so that's where I concentrated my efforts, pulling extra tightly around that area.  Keep going until it looks something like this:{Are you with me so far? You are? I've always thought you were particularly clever...}Step 4If your wreath base is looking slightly misshapen, you can squeeze it a bit on either side to push it into shape. This is the way I do it: Step 5If you notice any stray ends, just snip them off with sharp scissors or secateurs.Step[...]

This'll totally brighten your day....Flash Mob at Liverpool Street Station...


Have you heard of flash-mobs? This is one of the most-feel-good things I've ever watched. I LOVE it! This is SO un-British, and that's what makes it all the more lovely.

{Go on, have a peek....}

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Totally off subject, I know....

{sorry to the Modern Country Style purists amongst you.....}

but wasn't it BRILLIANT? I feel like hugging everyone I meet now!

I can't wait to see you tomorrow for Day 1 of Wreath Week...

Sourav Ganguly - Family Photos...



RE-drafting the Lions - 2004



This one ought to be fun. Two first rounders, Kevin Jones... not sure if he's in the league anymore and Roy Williams and his first down arm.

Jones was hurt near the end and had the same terrible offensive line we have now, but he just didn't live up to his draft position.

Williams on the other hand was talented. We ripped off Dallas by trading him for a 1 and a 3. Probably the best receiver since Morton. That first down thing that he does when being down 3 touchdowns was infuriating. Had some good Kitna years, but at the end he couldn't catch simple crossing routes as those poor Cowboys learned last weekend.

Round 1 - 7. Roy Williams WR Texas

My Pick - 14. Chicago - Tommie Harris, DT Oklahoma

Also could of had -
8. Atlanta - DeAngelo Hall, CB Virginia Tech
11. Pittsburgh - Ben Roethlisberger, QB Miami
12. NY Jets - Jonathan Vilma, LB Miami
16. Philadelphia - Shawn Andrews, OT Arkansas
18. New Orleans - Will Smith, DE Ohio State
21. New England - Vince Wilfork, DT Miami
24. St. Louis - Steven Jackson, RB Oregon State

Harris has had some problems, but 27 sacks? Take it. Jackson would be a no brainer. Wilfork wasn't as good, but the Lions need a nose tackle at this point.

Round 1 - 30. Kevin Jones RB Virginia Tech

My Pick -
34. NY Giants - Chris Snee, G Boston College

Also could of had -
32. New England - Ben Watson, TE Georgia
33. Arizona - Karlos Dansby, OLB Auburn

Round 2 - 37. Teddy Lehman OLB Oklahoma

My Pick -
44. Indianapolis - Bob Sanders, S Iowa

Also could of had -
43. Dallas - Julius Jones, RB Notre Dame
50. New Orleans - Devery Henderson, WR LSU
57. Tennessee - Antwan Odom, DE Alabama
62. Carolina - Keary Colbert, WR USC
64. Arizona - Darnell Dockett, DT Florida State
65. San Diego - Nate Kaeding, K Iowa
66. San Diego - Nick Hardwick, C Purdue

Bob Sanders has been beast when on the field. Lehman has the same injury problems with half the talent.

Round 3 - 73. Keith Smith CB McNeese State

My Pick - 81. Washington from - Chris Cooley, TE Utah State

Also could of had -
90. Atlanta - Matt Schaub, QB Virginia
110. Chicago - Nathan Vasher, CB Texas
119. Minnesota - Mewelde Moore RB
126. Kansas City - Jared Allen, DE Idaho State
137. Jacksonville - Josh Scobee, K Louisiana Tech

Of course you can make the argument for Allen, but by not drafting Williams, you would need some more fire power for Mr. Brees here. Smith was okay but shut down corner he is never.

Round 5 - 140. Alex Lewis LB Wisconsin

My Pick -
154. San Diego - Michael Turner, RB Northern Illinois

Also could of had -
157. Seattle - D.J. Hackett, WR Colorado

Not a great round for anyone save Turner. Turner the burner.

Round 6 - 172. Kelly Butler T Purdue

My Pick - Wes Welker WR

Also could of had - Jeff Smoker? Smoker the Coker.
188. San Francisco - Andy Lee, P Pittsburgh
Tony Romo QB
Willie Parker RB
Mat McBriar P
Jason Peters OT
Kris Dielman G

Parker, Welker and Romo were all great finds. Welker is feisty.

A relaxed Modern Country Christmas weekend...


This gorgeous picture sums up the look I love at Christmas time. It's not an overly styled look. It just gently calls you in to sit down with family and friends, in a relaxed and welcoming home.

Thank you so much for all your great comments about cameras yesterday. You really helped me. I think I'm nearly there now in my decision. I'll let you know what Santa decides to bring me!

My handsome Mr Modern Country has been away this week but he gets back today. I just got the call to say that he's landed and is on his way home to me. Yeeeeehaaaaah!!! I've missed his lovely hugs so much. I'm so excited to see him. I'm just off to prettify myself for him.

Oooh, and do follow along to make sure you get to join in with Wreath Week, starting on Monday, when I'll share how to make a stunning wreath from scratch and for free.

{Did someone say stunning AND free?....Yes, siree....}

Image via House to Home

Modern Country Christmas: Cinnamon & Heart Garland


Hi gorgeous! Look, I've put our first decoration up....{Yes, just one. Don't's a start, right?}And it's not just any old decoration, you know, it's my heart and cinnamon wreath that I showed you how to make here, if you'd like a peep. It has pride of place in our dining room. {Notice it's up high...out of reach of little hands...}Have you seen our dining room? I whizzed through it on here in a fit of blogging exuberance when it was first decorated a few months ago but I think in the New Year, I can show you in more detail. {Would you like that?}  These photos were a nightmare to take.It threw my camera into a tizz.{And it threw me a bit too....}The camera didn't know where to the mirror or out of the mirror...I currently have a point and shoot Canon and, while it's great for what it is, it's thoroughly automated so it's hard to make manual adjustments for situations like this. Let's just say there were a lot of photos in the edit pile...Now, for Christmas, I hope to be getting a new digital SLR. I'm still unsure about which one to get. I would SO like to hear your recommendations.  How much should I spend? What features should I particularly look for? What should I avoid?And most importantly...What colour should it be?{That was a joke...honest...}But I'd be very grateful for your thoughts...Anyway...back to the heart and cinnamon garland. I'm so pleased with how it looks there. I love this style for this time of year: simple, homely and warm. The smell of the cinnamon is gorgeous. Perfect for a Modern Country Christmas, don't you think?I think I'll want to leave it there after Christmas.{Do you think I could get away with that?}No doubt I'll want to leave the tinsel up too. And the lights...Not to mention the tree...I'm linking to my favourite parties in my sidebar.[...]

Guest Post: A Rosy Note


That's decided, then: it's a date. Next week is Modern Country Style's Wreath Week. I'll share with you how to put a wreath together from scratch, and then all sorts of beautiful ideas for decorating them. Thank you to those of you who've emailed me questions and suggestions, I'll be adding those in for sure. Keep 'em coming!Today, I am so pleased to welcome Tricia here from A Rosy Note. She is so awesomely talented: gorgeous crafts, amazing rooms and brilliant ideas. Is there nothing this girl can't do? Hi everyone!  I am so happy to be here today at Sarah's beautiful blog.  Sarah has always been such a supportive and sweet blog friend, so when she asked me to guest post I was thrilled.  To give you a hint of what my blog, A Rosy Note, is all about, Sarah asked me these questions.Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?Hmm...this question kind of makes me feel like I am on a job interview.  What to say?  What to say? about I just give you a top ten list about me? Here goes, in no particular order, of course. drawing, design, decorating and the mother of two wonderful children and love, love, love my family.go to Target far too often.have owned my own business, a home furnishings and gift a to decorate model husband is a builder/ in Minnesota, but would prefer to be somewhere warmer and more exotic.  Italy sounds to organize...sad, but to travel.have a degree in's hard to define yourself by ten items, but for right now this is my list.  I'm sure I'll want to change it the minute it gets posted though :)What gave you the idea to start your blog, A Rosy Note?Well, I lurked around some sewing, crafting and design blogs for about a year and absolutely loved them.  I have a severe magazine addiction and looking through blogs seemed similar to looking at magazines...all the stories, crafts and style...I was in love.  I had been wanting to do something creative and really felt like I was meant to start a blog, I don't know why...hopefully it leads me somewhere, like to the place I am meant to be.{Yes, me again! Isn't this room gorgeous? I love the books on the beautiful shelf above the bed.}What is your favorite style of decorating and why?Nothing I can really define for you.  I like a variety of things...European country, modern contemporary, Scandinavian design and even colorful, artistic decor.  I think my bedroom is a good indicator of my overall style, it has a mix of old and new, as well as a simple palette with a little splash of color.  To my eye, it does need a few more modern elements though.  Everyone else seems to like it too, since it was one of my most popular posts.Can you tell us about your best crafty project so far?Hmmm...probably the felt flowers.  They were simple, turned out so cute and didn't cost much either.  The nice thing about them is they can be used in a variety of ways...on a pillow, a gift or maybe as a pretty accent to a purse or coat.Well, that's it folks.  I so enjoyed visiting with everyone here at Modern Country Style today.  Thanks for having me, Sarah!  I would love it if you all popped over to visit me too.  Tricia♥Aren't Tricia's photos beautifully put together? They're so dreamy. I could just stare and stare!  Do you remember this cinnamon and heart garland from a few posts ago? It's the first of our decorations to be put up and it looks so lovely in it's new home! Very Christmassy and, kind of Country, but in [...]

Machu Picchu - Peru, Beautiful Photo Collection...


Machu Picchu (Quechua: Machu Picchu, "Old mountain") is a pre-Columbian Inca site located 2,400 meters (7,875 ft) above sea level. It is situated on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley in Peru, which is 80 km (50 mi) northwest of Cusco. Often referred to as "The Lost City of the Incas", Machu Picchu is probably the most familiar symbol of the Inca Empire.The Incas started building the estate around AD 1400 but it was abandoned as an official site for the Inca rulers a century later at the time of the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire. Although known locally, it was unknown to the outside world before being brought to international attention in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham. Since then, Machu Picchu has become an important tourist attraction.Machu Picchu was declared a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary in 1981 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. Since it was not plundered by the Spanish when they conquered the Incas, it is especially important as a cultural site and is considered a sacred place.Machu Picchu was built in the classical Inca style, with polished dry-stone walls. Its primary buildings are the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows. These are located in what is known by archaeologists as the Sacred District of Machu Picchu. In September 2007, Peru and Yale University reached an agreement regarding the return of artifacts which Hiram Bingham had removed from Machu Picchu in the early twentieth century.[...]

China Jack Mosaics: Interview


 Guess what? I've managed to wangle an interview with the very lovely Emily Lawlor who makes the gorgeous China Jack Mosaics I showed you here. I couldn't be more excited to have the chance to quiz a real, live artist at Modern Country Style.So, here goes...Emily, your pieces obviously have a common theme, highlighted by your company name, China Jack Mosaics. Where did the inspiration come from for the concept as a whole?I did a design degree at Chelsea Art College which involved training in mosaic and ceramic. A fascination with the written word and a love of surface patterns form the basis of my concept for China Jack.From my childhood, I remember beautiful Irish hand painted china from my great grandmother – it always came out for special occasions – and is tied up with many family memories of eating and drinking together. Much of the china got accidentally smashed one Christmas – and I kept all the fragments – thinking that one day I would make a special mosaic. Last year, I decided to make something from the broken china – I started thinking about what it represented - memories of cups of tea consumed around the kitchen table with family and friends. Laughter and language (my parents ran a language school). I came across a wonderful quote by Bernard Paul Heroux ‘There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot by much diminished by a nice cup of tea’. I wanted to combine my love of tea, words and language with colour and pattern. As I laid out the shards of china, I thought it would be interesting to combine wood and ceramic together in a mosaic. I have been collecting wooden printing blocks for many years – they are beautiful objects in themselves. The union jack is an iconic design – I wanted to interpret it in different ways through use of colours and patterns – and explore the symbolism of ‘having a cuppa’. I then fused all these ideas together into China Jack mosaics.What inspires you when you design an individual piece? China Jack mosaics evolve in different ways – I am always looking for new ways to combine pattern and word . Inspiration can come either from a beautiful piece of china that I have sourced - large plates are best - and this will then become the main colour theme for a piece and will often inspire a word or phrase. Or – the mosaic might start with a word – at the moment I am working on ‘BLIMEY’ – which is a word I love. The word BLIMEY is picked out in metal lettering – and the piece is monochrome – I was looking for an opportunity to use some beautiful brown and white ironstone plates which I had. I love Cockney Rhyming Slang and use some of this language as starting points for new designs.What or who have been your major influences?I have long been inspired by the Spanish architect Antonio Gaudi and his fantastical mosaics in Barcelona. He uses mosaics in an exciting way – riots of colour and texture following organic shapes. I also remember being influenced by the artist Jasper Johns when I was at art college – his textured and collaged paintings explored the iconic theme of flags again and again. What brought you to the place where you wanted to launch your own business?Nearly two years ago I had a log cabin studio built in the garden – which meant I had a dedicated working space after 5 years of not having a studio – finally all my materials and books together in one place – a big workspace where I could make larger scale pieces and leave them in progress – not have to tidy them away. This led to a huge amount of creativity – I was making large hand-felted flowers for a National Trust touring exhibition[...]

RE-drafting the Lions - 2003


Uhh, one of the worst drafts started off by one of the biggest busts in NFL history. Charles Rogers ended up playing 15 games in his career, catching 400 yards and 4 touchdowns. Not great for a normal NFLer, but for the second overall pick...just dreadful. Set the Lions back 2 years alone. Some of it wasn't his fault. The man had terrible injury problems, and he did look decent before the first collarbone incident. However it was reveled he had a drug problem, and that he failed one test already that the Lions knew about when he was drafted. I think he suffered from the same problem Matt Leinart did, being too close too his old school and friends when he really just needed a new start. Round 1:Detroit Charles Rogers WR Michigan State My Pick:5. Dallas - Terence Newman CB Kansas Also could of had:3. Houston - Andre Johnson WR Miami (Fla.) 9. Minnesota - Kevin Williams DT Oklahoma State10. Baltimore - Terrell Suggs DE Arizona State11. Seattle - Marcus Trufant CB Washington 13. New England - Ty Warren DT Texas A&M23. Buffalo - Willis McGahee RB Miami (Fla.)16. Pittsburgh - Troy Polamalu SS Southern California24. Indianapolis - Dallas Clark TE Iowa27. Kansas City - Larry Johnson RB Penn State31. Oakland - Nnamdi Asomugha CB CaliforniaSo many picks could of been had here. Sad thinking we could have Williams, Polamalu or even Dallas Clark. Andre Johnson instead of Charles Rogers might have changed fortunes. Round 2:34. Detroit - Boss Bailey OLB GeorgiaMy Pick:37. New Orleans - Jonathan Stinchcomb OT GeorgiaAlso could of had:39. Jacksonville - Rashean Mathis FS Bethune-Cookman40. Minnesota - E.J. Henderson ILB Maryland42. Seattle - Ken Hamlin FS Arkansas54. Arizona - Anquan Boldin WR Florida State56. N.Y. Giants - Osi Umenyiora DE Troy State Lots of defensive help here, Mathis, Dwayne White or Umenyiora would have been great as would have Boldin (again instead of Rogers). A good tackle would have been better than the bust of LB Bailey. Round 3:66. Detroit - Cory Redding DE Texas My Pick:69. Dallas - Jason Witten TE Tennessee Also could of had:68. Chicago - Lance Briggs ILB Arizona91. N.Y. Giants - Vishante Shiancoe TE Morgan State Chris Simms, Justin Fargas, and Kevin Curtis were all taken here. None turned out to be particularly effective. The tight ends on the other hand, are still staples to this day. Redding at least played for years, effective though? Ehh. Round 4:99. Detroit - Artose Pinner RB Kentucky My Pick:120. New England - Asante Samuel CB Central FloridaAlso could of had:111. Buffalo - Terrence McGee CB Northwestern StatMediocre RB's galore here: Lee Suggs, Onterrio Smith, Quentin Griffin, LaBrandon Toefield, Domanick Davis. Lions got their own in Pinner. Brandon Lloyd is having a good year finally. How the heck Samuel fell to the fourth round is astonishing now, stupid pats. Round 5:137. Detroit - Terrence Holt FS North Carolina State144. Detroit - James Davis SS West VirginiaMy Picks:160. N.Y. Giants - David Diehl G Illinois Also could of had:138. Indianapolis - Robert Mathis DE Alabama A&M 142. Cleveland - Ryan Pontbriand C Rice 156. Miami - Donald Lee TE Mississippi State164. New England - Dan Koppen C Boston College Lots of mediocre defensive players in this draft. Lions attempted to get 2 safeties here. Both were....mediocre. I would have shored up the guard position as they never had a good one. Round 6:175. Detroit - David Kircus WR Grand Valley StateMy Pick:198. Indianapolis - Cato June FS Michigan Also could of had:188. San Diego - Hanik Milligan FS Houston 211. N.Y. Giants - David Tyree WR Syracuse 213. Miami - Yeremiah Bell CB Eastern Kentucky T[...]

Hibiscus Flower Tattoo For Women On Arm


(image) 1.Hibiscus Flower Tattoo For Women On Arm

(image) 2.Hibiscus Flower Tattoo For Women On Arm

(image) 3.Hibiscus Flower Tattoo For Women On Arm

Wreath-Making Course


Isn't this house's front door absolutely beautiful? Don't you just love the mix of formal and informal? And the colours and the topiary and the wreath.....

Speaking of wreaths, I'm off on a wreath-making course.

{Did you like that seamless link?}

This will be my fourth year of going.

{I should be able to make them with my hands tied behind my back by the end.}

I can't wait to show you what I've learnt....

I hope those of you celebrating have a marvellous Thanksgiving.

{I'm missing you...}

Image via Homes & Gardens

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Egypt - Rare Photo Collection...


The Thirtieth Dynasty was the last native ruling dynasty during the Pharaonic epoch. It fell to the Persians in 343 BC after the last native Pharaoh, King Nectanebo II, was defeated in battle. Later, Egypt fell to the Greco–Macedonians and Romans, beginning over two thousand years of foreign rule. The last ruler from the Ptolemaic line was Cleopatra VII, who committed suicide with her lover Marc Antony, after Caesar Augustus had captured them.Before Egypt became part of the Byzantine realm, Christianity had been brought by Saint Mark the Evangelist in the AD first century. Diocletian’s reign marked the transition from the Roman to the Byzantine era in Egypt, when a great number of Egyptian Christians were persecuted. The New Testament had by then been translated into Egyptian. After the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451, a distinct Egyptian Coptic Church was firmly established.A unified kingdom was founded circa 3150 BC by King Menes, giving rise to a series of dynasties that ruled Egypt for the next three millennia. Egyptians subsequently referred to their unified country as tawy, meaning “two lands”, and later kemet (Coptic: kīmi), the “black land”, a reference to the fertile black soil deposited by the Nile river. Egyptian culture flourished during this long period and remained distinctively Egyptian in its religion, [[Art of Ancient language and customs. The first two ruling dynasties of a unified Egypt set the stage for the Old Kingdom period, c.2700−2200 BC., famous for its many pyramids, most notably the Third Dynasty pyramid of Djoser and the Fourth Dynasty Giza Pyramids.The First Intermediate Period ushered in a time of political upheaval for about 150 years. Stronger Nile floods and stabilization of government, however, brought back renewed prosperity for the country in the Middle Kingdom c. 2040 BC, reaching a peak during the reign of Pharaoh Amenemhat III. A second period of disunity heralded the arrival of the first foreign ruling dynasty in Egypt, that of the Semitic Hyksos. The Hyksos invaders took over much of Lower Egypt around 1650 BC and founded a new capital at Avaris. They were driven out by an Upper Egyptian force led by Ahmose I, who founded the Eighteenth Dynasty and relocated the capital from Memphis to Thebes.[...]

Cinnamon and Heart Garland tutorial


Welcome to Christmas: Modern Country Style!I've been wanting and wanting and wanting to share this with you and now I feel it's respectfully close enough to Christmas that I can!! This is one of my favourite ever Christmas crafts:Cinnamon and Heart Garland.I've prepared a step-by-step tutorial so you can have a go too. So...apart from a sewing kit. this is what you need:jute twine, cinnamon sticks, fabric, ribbon, wooden spools, stuffing.The fabric I chose was a fat quarter of tea-dyed red checks and ticking, and I had some Jane Means ribbon that matched rather nicely, don't you think?Step 1: Draw and cut out a heart template on a piece of card. Take the material for your first heart and fold it in half, right sides facing. Pin it to your material and cut out, leaving a 1cm seam allowance all around. Step 2: Sew around the heart apart from an inch or so to leave a space for stuffing.{Shown as the beautifully and artistically drawn purple bits in the picture.} Step 3: Turn the heart the right way around and stuff. Hand sew the rest of the opening closed.{Yes, this is open heart surgery....boom boom}Step 4: Repeat this six more times (leaving you with seven hearts).{I'm not ashamed to admit that I roped in some of my children to help with the production line at this point....}Step 5: Take a wooden spool and glue one end of the ribbon onto it. Cut the ribbon to the right length, leaving room for a slight overlap. Fold over the other end of the ribbon for a neat finish and glue in place. Repeat eleven times to leave you with twelve reels.It doesn't take long, honest!{The first time I did this, I foolishly left them where my twins could get them....yup, every last one had the ribbon removed....}Step 6: Cut the cinnamon sticks into six 3-inch pieces. Step 7: Using a sharp point, make a hole in the middle of each piece of cinnamon.{Um, yes, that is a knitting needle...if you have something sharper, please may I have it to save me gouging my hands next time?}Step 8: Using a needle with a BIG eye, thread the jute twine and start the assembly.Heart, reel, stick, reel, heart, reel, stick, reel, heart.... Just to warn you, you have to pull harder than you think to get the twine through the heart....    I can't wait to share where I've put first Christmas decoration!! Here's a sneak peek, just for you....I'm linking up to my favourite parties in the sidebar. Come and join me![...]

James Dias Tattoo, oportunidade


James Dias escreveu para nossa redação a procura de uma oportunidade em um estúdio maior. Sua prioridade é para estúdios em Portugal, onde reside atualmente, mas todas as propostas serão analisadas.Se você procura um bom tatuador para completar o staff de seu estúdio, confira os trabalhos de James e entre em contato.O tatuador possui todo material profissional próprio. James Dias é conhecido como JD Tattoo e trabalha profissionalmente no estúdio JD Tattoo fazem três anos.Os interessados devem entrar em contato.T.: 351 913234141E-mail:[...]