Tuesday, 21 July 2020

The Distancing Diaries - Day 122 & 123



Despite Stephen Squirrel's best efforts to rouse me at stupid o'clock on Monday morning (day 122) I managed to ignore him and go back to sleep for another hour. Although not as warm as Sunday, the sun was shining and I was outside watering the newly-transplanted tomato plants at just after 6am. After my Wii Fit workout I caught up with blogland and ordered a couple more birthday presents for Jon. After our fruit & yogurt I swept and mopped the stairs whilst Jon cracked on with the wardrobe door project.


I gave our bedroom a thorough clean and, at the same time, took some photos for Kezzie's Blogger's Art Gallery link-up


There's art in every room in our house. You'll find the majority of our bedroom art on the chimney breast wall. There's my mass produced mid-century prints, three of Vernon Ward's pictures featuring flamingos, deer in a wooded glade and a family of swans, there's a couple of Trechikoffs, Hindu Dancer and a fairly rare signed print of Rose in The Workshop (bought for £1) and Gail by DH Lynch (her sister, Tina, on the wall opposite).


There's an oil on canvas of me by Clare who used to blog at Miss Simmonds Says and can now be found on Instagram HERE.


The watercolour of Jon & I at Glastonbury in 2014 was painted by Liz and was a 50th birthday present.


Here's the original photo.


 Propped up next to the fireplace is a sketch of me by Val, an ex-blogger and another piece by Clare.



The Oxford Dictionary defines Art as being the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.  Here's a wonderful hand-embroidered cushion made by my friend Lynn which, as it is both beautiful and reminds me of the day she and husband Philip popped in for a visit, is definitely a form of art.


Patchwork is my form of self-expression. I'd never attempted it until the week after my Mum died and, having organised the funeral and sorted out her belongings, needed something to busy my mind and distract me from my grief. In the bedroom you'll find a patchwork bed cover, some floor length curtains and two pom-pom trimmed bolster covers. I never buy new fabric, I cut up tatty old vintage clothes, bed linen, curtains, tablecloths or tea towels, nothing is safe from my scissors!


Jon is a master of demonstrating human creative skill in his ability to make something useful out of the most useless items, like this 1960s Lady Shtick hairdryer he transformed into a bedside light.


Pop over to Kezzie's blog HERE and check out the other entries. Hopefully Kezzie will make this a regular feature, I've got a lot more art to show you.


On a mission, I mopped the bathroom floor, cleaned the shelves and gave everything else a good scrub down. By now it was noodle time so I joined Jon in the kitchen. He'd managed to make a good start on fitting the cupboard and was in the process of sanding the bottom half down ready for painting. After lunch I staked and tied up the baby Yukka, trimmed one of the potted grasses on the patio and fed Jacob some of his special tortoise diet. Jon painted the cupboard he'd fitted and moved on to creating the top part while I read in the garden. It wasn't sunny or particularly warm but with an amazing book on the go I hardly noticed.


I thought wearing my tomato dress might serve as a hint to our lazy plants.


With Jon occupied with the cupboard I made a Greek tea - okra yachni with couscous & Feta stuffed peppers (it was delicious, even if I do say so myself). We watched the rest of the first series of My Greek Odyssey - we've only got another seven days left of the free Amazon Prime channel and there's another twelve-part series to fit in!


On Tuesday (day 123) I was doing my daily Wii Fit workout by 6.30am as we needed to be on the road by 9am. We ate our fruit & yogurt, Jon made sandwiches, filled the flask and off we went. Like last week, we were headed to the neighbouring county of Staffordshire, to the wonderful Biddulph Grange Garden on the outskirts of Stoke-on-Trent. We'd last visited on a frosty day in December, 2016 (HERE) and were keen to see the garden in all its midsummer glory.


Biddulph Grange was created by Victorian plantsman, James Bateman, a contemporary of Charles Darwin, as home for his collection of plants from around the world. The garden is divided into themed areas accessed by tunnels, archways and stone steps. You enter via the Italianate Terrace.





This leads to a huge pond with the biggest Koi carp I've ever seen,. You can buy bags of fish food at the entrance to feed them



A stone tunnel leads to the Himalayan Glen, a shady paradise of hostas & ferns with cascading waterfalls and rock formations.


Pass through a subterranean cave and you'll enter the Chinese Water Garden with its glossy red pagoda, golden bull temple and a tranquil lake bisected by an ornamental bridge (currently closed whilst the National Trust raises the funds for the repair). There's also the oldest surviving golden larch in the UK, brought from China in 1850.






Pass through the archway and you enter the Dahlia Garden.


In all honesty I had no idea what a dahlia looked like until a friend commented on a photo of one I'd taken on a previous National Trust outing. They're amazing!


 My favourite has to be the one in the bottom left of the collage above, it was labelled as Karma Choc. I've found it in Lord Jon's gardening catalogue!



We climbed some stone steps, passing through a topiary archway and reached the formal gardens, a mass of rose bushes and climbing honeysuckle. It smelt gorgeous even if the planting wasn't to our taste.

WEARING: Vintage 1960s hand-embroidered cotton maxi dress from Pakistan (Viv's Vintage, Worcester), vintage 1970s tooled leather bag (eBay, 2019), Lotta from Stockholm clogs (via Ebay), orange fedora (retail buy and now on its 33rd wearing)

I felt like Alice next to this bastard massive urn!


After a wander through the woodland ...




And a stroll around the Arboretum...


We made our way back to the van and had lunch before driving back home to Walsall.


We spent the afternoon pottering around the garden and apologising to the lads, who were most put out at us leaving them home alone for a few hours. Goodness knows how they're going to cope if we get to Greece.

Phew, that was a bit of an epic post, well done if you're still with me!

Stay safe, stay fabulous, see you soon!

81 comments:

  1. Oh that does look like an amazing garden! There was a Dahlia Garden at Anglesey Abbey but it wasn't open when we went a couple of weeks back. There were some amazing stone urns and planters in the gardens you visited - and that Golden Bull/Minotaur; fabulous!

    I loved your tomato dress and the one when you visit the gardens - so cheerful and pretty and stylish!

    Loved your Greek tea - looking at the photo made me feel hungry!

    I wished I'd known about the art challenge I'd love to have taken part. Like you I have art everywhere (except the bathroom) and love to be surrounded by it. I'm just so busy with last minute preparation for going away I haven't got the time...

    Take care
    xxx

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    1. I love Biddulph but the slots are like gold dust, I had to go online at 6am last Friday to book! There's an amazing Egyptian garden complete with sphinxes which was sadly closed off yesterday.
      That white dress doesn't get nearly enough wear, I was so excited to find the twin of my beloved blue dress when I spotted it.
      I've often admired the lovely art on your walls in previous posts, I think we need a tour when you get back from Ireland.
      Have a fantastic time and stay safe! xxx

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  2. I remember admiring some of these art pieces and I liked seeing them (whenever I saw them in your posts). I simply love art in your home, it is all so unique. I think my favourite is a watercolour painting of you and Jon that a friend has done for you. You have quite a few art pieces from your friends- and they are all fabulous. It is always special to have art done by friends. I also like your vintage pieces.
    I absolutely agree that patching is an art form. I always love seeing yours and Jon's DIY projects.
    What a beautiful Chinese garden. You look very much at peace there. I'll stop by for another view later, my concentration is a bit off right now.

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    1. I'm really lucky to have talented friends. That Glastonbury picture took my breath away, such a lovely memory to keep forever.
      I hope all's well in your world, Ivana. xx

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  3. I love all your art from friends. So special and unique. The Glastonbury one is my favourite. Your quilt is gorgeous!

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  4. Oh Vix, what a beautiful post tonight! I loved the definition of aret and I think yours and Jon's lifestyle in itself is an art form. You are oozing creativity and the art, patchwork, garden beautiful clothes and the clever upcycling by you and Jon well it's amazing. I have just been playing in the rusti garden, funny thing I was teasing the hubster saying it is an art instalation but it is meaniful to him because my sons are fifth generation in the family business so all the old tools connect us to the genrations before that have toiled here. I be some would look down their nose at how content i can be playing tin the garden but I think it is they that are missing out on the fun. I loved the pictures of the garden you went to see you are right that is a "barstard big urn" wow! By the way that greek tea looked lovely. I hope your tomatees get the hint from the goregeous tomatoe dress!! Love Shazx ps thanks for a really lovely post it felt special (they all are really)!

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    1. Hello, Shaz! Thank you so much for those kind words. I wish I could see your rustic garden, from what you've told me it sounds absolutely wonderful and the fact that you're re-purposing those old tools that have passed through five generations of the family is just lovely. I know a lot of people don't "get" it but I'd much rather live in a home which reflected the lives of the inhabitants than some soulless shell where everything was bought brand new and changed every few years according to fashion.
      Don't you just love how the wealthy used to spend their money, commissioning replicas of Greek monuments, shipping trees over from China or having the biggest urns in the world cast for the hell of it. These days it's all facelifts and hot tubs.
      I did enjoy my Greek tea, I must share that recipe, it's dead easy and will be even better if I manage to grow enough tomatoes of my own rather than use a tin!
      Loads of love to you. xxx

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  5. I've got some great art, a lot by my friends. I've been meaning to create an album on Facebook, and you've really inspired me. I've just bought a fabulous piece from Liz, orange tulips. I just need a good frame for it.

    Haven't been to Biddulph Grange for years. It looks spectacular. I've been trying to get some National Trust tickets with no success, and I'm determined that this Friday will be my lucky day!

    Your dress and hat look fantastic, and perfect for a garden visit.

    Two friends and I are supposed to making patchwork cushions. We're supporting each other on Zoom, but I'm really not a confident sewer, so we shall have to see how I get on.

    Take care xxx

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    1. Liz was really excited that you bought that beautiful tulip print, it'll make you smile every time you look at it.
      Biddulph Grange is wonderful, I'll have to go back in the Autumn and the Spring now having seen it in Summer & Winter. I wonder what I'll be able to book next? The larm will be set on Friday morning especially!
      Good luck with the patchwork. xxx

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  6. Love the gardens, and I love the patch work. Don't have much time for quilting here too much sewing to do.

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    1. Thank you! I've never done any quilting either, it looks a bit too complex. I like quick and easy! x

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  7. I love seeing all the art featuring you and Jon! So fun!

    That estate is amazing! I'm not a huge fan of sculptured gardens, but the Chinese garden and the dahlias are incredible. I adore dahlias - it was one of the things I actually liked about going to the local country fair every September: the dahlia competition! So many colours and shapes.

    Uh-oh, you've spoiled the lads by being around all the time!

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    1. I do love our Glasto painting especially as it was probably the only decent selfie we've ever managed to take!
      Biddulph is wonderful, I'm in awe of the owner's vision, creating the Himalayas, China and Italy in the industrial centre of the UK!A dahlia competition? I'd love to see that. xxx

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  8. Lovely garden. (although I have been quite impressed with what you and Lord Jon have accomplished at home) - I had a co worker whose husband grew dahlias - only dahlias and I learned there are so many varieties. She would bring some into work to have at our break table and some of the blooms were 8" across!! I couldn't believe the stems could hold that heavy of a bloom. They are quite lovely and agree with your favorite choice. Have been enjoying yours and Jons' progress in the garden as well as inside your home. Love you furry felines and am intrigued with Jacob. I just really enjoy your creativity. Ranee (MN) USA

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    1. LOLLLL Lord Jon! I laugh whenever I see that.

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    2. Ranee, that did make me laugh! His newly elevated status will be going to his head!
      I had no idea that there were so many varieties of Dahlias and they all look so different, too. I'm keen to try growing that Karma Choc, it's out of stock at the moment but the plant website have said they'll email when it arrives.
      So lovely to hear from you, I really appreciate the kind comment!
      Lots of love. xxx

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  9. My beloved Uncle Harold loved dahlias and grew absolute beauties. When he died most of the floral tributes were dahlias, the next day my cousin went to the grave and the dahlia floral tributes had been eaten by rabbits. I thought that was much better than them just dying.

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    1. What a sweet story. How lovely that Uncle Harold's funeral dahlias were appreciated by the local wildlife, much nicer than being left to fade away. xxx

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  10. I will take a wander and look at all the art on display. I love seeing your patchwork-that is my aim for this winter to get something so lovley, or 1/3 as lovley as yours, using scraps of fabric.

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    1. You'll enjoy the art tours, there's some really interesting stuff!
      Patchwork is such a joy, just remember there's no rules and the brighter the fabric, the less anyone notices the wonky stitching! xxx

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  11. Dear Vix,

    I believe everyone has the capability of being an artist/producing art *in some way*. My brother is a freakish art prodigy who made incredible work at the age of 4; I struggled until I realized that my medium is actually fabric! Like you, "nothing is safe from me and my scissors"! From hats for my dog to bedazzled face masks, I have finally found my peace with art. I feel like many creative people can relate who aren't "traditional" artists.

    Liz's art is amazing, and she seems like a loving, caring friend. When did you guys meet?!

    From a longtime reader,
    Mei

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    1. Hello, Mei! How fascinating that your brother was an art genius. Was there a relative with the same talent? I love that, like me, it's fabric where you find your artist talents lie. I'd love to see one of your dog hats or a bedazzled face mask for that matter!
      Liz and I were in the same class in infant school, we've been friends since we were 5!
      Always a joy to read a comment from you, my lovely friend. xxx

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    2. Dear Vix,

      Absolutely! My grandma used to copy the masters in her basement. We inherited a lot of "spot-on" Van Goghs and others that were copied from sight. Remarkable. Of course, back then, her talent was stifled by the insanity of the 1950s, and nobody got to enjoy her work.

      Waiting until the next post -- will Frank get stuck in the rain? Will Lord Jon craft another loaf? What about the bean harvest, will it continue?!

      Until next time,

      Mei


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    3. Mei, your grandma sounded like an amazing character. What a shame she was creating during the 1950s, "insane" describes that era of stifling women and holding them back perfectly.
      What will I write about next...all will be revealed in the next 24 hours! xxx

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  12. Another great post, Vix. Laughing at the garden selling bags of fish food to the public to feed THEIR carp. Chancers!!!! Look at that wee corner you cleared and redesigned. It looks fabulous now with mirrors and plants and, with you reading in your tomato dress, it's an absolute picture (you too!).

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    1. Hi Catmac! Cheeky, aren't they? You're not allowed to take a picnic into the ground, maybe that's why, so you don't save your money by feeding the koi your crusts?
      I'm so happy with our corner, looking back it was such a waste having that ugly looking woodpile right next to the house. That's another lockdown bonus, if we hadn't had the time to actually look and assess how we used the house we'd never have moved the wood! xxx

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  13. Sorry, meant to comment on the art but became distracted by the garden. A house isn't a home without paintings and objects d'art. You have an amazing collection. I too have many paintings, some original but most, I'm afraid, prints. The paintings done for you by friends are such charming, original and thoughtful gifts. I am a great art appreciator but have no talent whatsoever - darn it!!! I love looking at art and objects people collect in their homes. It gives you a real insight to their personalities.

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    1. I'm eternally fascinated by what people chose to hang on their walls, aren't you? Like you, I haven't got any talent whatsoever for painting or drawing which makes me appreciate the work of those that do all the more. xxx

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  14. You've got some great pieces that people have done of you and Jon. Can I be nosey and ask how Stephen Squirrel got his name? Arilx

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    1. Thanks so much!
      Stephen was named after the plaster working on Stonecroft that gave him to us. The squirrel bit came from the very rude character from Bo! Selecta! xxx

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  15. Stopping by for the art gallery - I love the patchwork bed cover you made. And the garden tour is stunning!

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    1. Thanks for popping by! Lovely to meet you, MK. x

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  16. Epic post but most interesting. The watercolour of you and Jon - this was what I could not take my eyes off. Amazing artwork but first what held my gaze and I saw in it was a picture of love between two people - what we all really want.

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    1. Thank you so much! I remember the day we took that photo so well, sitting in the Peace Garden away from the crowds, on our second 2 litre bottle of cider of the day and amazed that we'd managed to snap a photo of ourselves without cutting one of our heads off! xxx

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  17. I love the art link up, will try to visit them all. The watercolour of you/Jon is my favourite and I actually think the way you dress is art Vix, putting colours together and pattern - you are very good at it - dressmaking is becoming a lost art too, it's a creative pursuit. I haven't done a silk painting probably for a year or so, maybe I should dig them out - I think gardens are art too - a way to create a picture/palette of colour and texture. Loved those dahlias on your garden visit - my grandma used to grow them for the local garden shows and cover them in paper bags so they bloomed to perfection at exactly the right time. I think tomatoes grow best indoors/under glass - maybe your garden is north facing.. if you have any large windows it might be worth bringing them indoors to ripen or place near some mirrors outside so they get max light. My friend has an envious supply because she devotes her entire greenhouse to them! I think the tomato dress is bound to help though x

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    1. The art link up was really enjoyable, it's fascinating to see what people choose to hang on their walls!
      My Mum always used to say that about me, I'm often asked if I'm an artist when I'm out and about (as well as a fortune teller, lap dancer and fashion designer!)
      You're right about gardening, it takes a good eye to balance the colours and textures and to create something beautiful. It's the planting more than the actual plants that fascinate me when we visit the National Trust gardens.
      Our garden is south facing and all the windows are, too. We've only got a decent-sized windowsill in the kitchen - it's a tomato growing nightmare! Since we moved them they are starting to develop a few more flowers and I spotted a pea-shaped tomato on one!
      I better get that tomato dress back on! xxx

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  18. I love art, I have it hung all over the house, it drives Paul mad. I have so much that some of it is in the spare room as I have ran out of room!!! Paul goes mad as the walls are only fragile and if he hears me banging a nail he will come looking for me!!! I love hanging postcards, I collect them whenever I go on holiday as they remind me of a place I have visited.
    I rate ones like yours though!!! I keep eyeing up my fabric bundle but I don’t know what to do with it!!!! I have tons of books and mum snook in kirsities vintage home, can’t stand the woman but the book is good. Posh woman trying to dabble in to many things, stick to being an estate agent my dear.
    The garden was wonderful , the pagoda reminded me of mejii shrine near us but it’s huge and very popular for weddings . And tourists!!! That urn could you live in it ??? I love places like that. Mum and dad are off to forbidden corner that’s a wonderful garden. You and Jon would love it.
    I have found out the tomatoes In the garden are plum yummy !!! still only getting single strawberries damn plants!!! Take care and keep safe

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    1. "If he hears me banging a nail he will come looking for me!!!" That made me laugh out loud, I could have written that! I once saw an entire wall papered in postcards, it looked incredible. I'm watching some on eBay at the moment, I've no idea where they'll go or how I'll frame them but I really want to win them!
      Kristie is the most annoying person ever, I didn't have a problem with her when she sold houses. Lynn sent me a wonderful book called Granny Chic - that's full of lovely ideas, too.
      Isn't that urn incredible? I took a photo of it alone but you couldn't appreciate the size until I stood next to it. I love how the rich spent their cash in Victorian times!
      At least you got a strawberry, even our wild ones vanished this year. I've forgotten what they taste like.
      Take care! xxx

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  19. biddulph grange gardens are stunning!!!
    so green and lush yet very well kept..... dahlia are a great choice for a pot garden (the smaller ones) because one has to get the bulbs out of the soil for winter to store them in a frost-safe room. they bloom from start ob july until the first frost. and the bulbs get bigger over the years so you can divide them for more plants.
    you´r wearing the lovely white sister of the fabulous blue dress! perfect for the location!
    and i hope the chic tomato dress will work its magic.....
    stuffed peppers! yummy - thanks for inspiration. and for the hint to the bloggers art gallery - very interesting.
    xxxx

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    1. Aren't they stunning? I was amazed at how well kept they were, they didn't seem affected by lockdown at all.
      You've answered my question, I was wondering if I could grow dahlias in pots. It seemed a better option as I read that they needed to be dug up and overwintered each year, I shall definitely invest in one and see what happens.
      The white dress needed an outing, she'd been neglected since September! xxx

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  20. The art is beautiful, I LOVE the watercolour of you and Jon at Glastonbury. Funnily enough I've had an urge to make some patchwork curtains and seeing how gorgeous yours are I might just do it sooner rather than later.

    You remind me of a Borrower standing next to that urn, and on the subject of little things ... any chance of a tour around the dollhouse in your bedroom, it looks lovely. xx

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    1. Thanks, Sue! I was thrilled with it when Liz gave it me!
      I absolutely love making patchwork, mines not an exact art but as it's only Jon and I who look at them a bit of wonky stitching is neither here nor there. It's a lovely way to pass the time.
      I shall endeavour to take some doll's house photos, my Lundby family have been very quiet over lockdown! xxx

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  21. I’m still with you on your epic post and I loved it all. Funny enough I was thinking about all your artwork the other day while I was reading an issue of Period living. I was remembering the magazines you were featured in and how fabulous it all looked.
    Thanks for showing my little cushion. Seems so long ago now I was stitching that while sat in the van going to my sister’s in Oxford and the stopping by your house on the way back.
    I’ll make a note to myself to do a blog post about the artwork in our house
    Lots of love xxx

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    1. That day you and Philip visited only feels like yesterday! I always think of us giggling round the kitchen table whenever I look at my lovely little cushion.
      I'd love you to do a post about your artwork, I know you've got some fabulous pieces! xxx

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    2. Wouldn’t it be nice to be giggling round the kitchen table right now xxx

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  22. I was engrossed in your art! I love the different depictions of you, your friend Liz is very talented. Most of the art on our walls is by friends, family and us. I agree that its art if it is beautiful or evokes an emotional response, and is a form of self expression. When I look around a gallery, a piece always means so much more to me when I read about what the artist was striving to achieve.
    I love your patchwork and also the imagination you have with clothes (art in my opinion) and the creations that you and John make for your home. I love art, its vital to me ( bit dramatic eh?).
    I also think gardening can be a form of self expression and therefore art...I'm enjoying your garden visits.
    The bedroom is beautiful, I do love those colours, they must be a joy to wake up to. xxx

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    1. How lovely that a lot of your artwork is personal, too. I love reading about the artists when I'm in a gallery, too - although it feels like a lifetime since I last visited one!
      Lacking any talent for painting or drawing, I'm glad I've got a teeny bit of artist talent in my love of colour and print.
      Art is vital, it brings beauty and escapism to our lives. xxx

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  23. The watercolour after your photo is lovely. I like that one the most.

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  24. More ducks and dahlias! Urns, architectural details, staircase vistas and a Chinese water garden! I envy you this excursion, Vix, for it includes many of my favorite subjects for sketching. My bag usually stocks a small sketch pad and a roller-ball ink pen for recording such bits of beauty as you've shared in this post. It's only since I've retired that I've attempted water colors. (Hugh Casson, I am not.)
    I've missed the summer's exhibitions at the little galleries where one could meet artists (and collectors). Thanks for the opportunity to tour the Blogger's Gallery: Shall pour some cheap white wine into a plastic cup and amble forth online!

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    1. Hello, Beth! I thought you might appreciate a few more ducks and dahlias No squeaky wellies yesterday, luckily!
      I'd love to be able to capture some of the sights we see on our National Trust visits on paper but am completely lacking the talent. Thank goodness for cameras!
      Enjoy the art tour, I did! xxx

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  25. I really enjoyed your epic post, Vix! I always enjoy your posts. So full of interest, creativity and colour! I missed the Lads this time though and feel quite deprived!! The various portraits of you are stunning - all so different and expressive, and so you! I loved the virtual tour around the stately home gardens too.

    I was thinking it would be fun to photograph some of the interesting things we've got in our house too. Mostly the decor is fairly conventional (unlike our old house which had huge murals that I painted myself - unfortunately these days I don't have the energy for such big projects!) but over the years we've collected quite a lot of interesting bits and pieces. I love your eccentric vintage hair drier lamp! Brilliant.

    Thank you for your lovely visit. Actually my studio isn't that large - it seemed larger when we first moved in and I had the room converted, but it's soooo full of stuff these days! It needs a major sort out once I get the time and energy to do it. I'm glad you liked my outfit this week, and the other photos too, including the kitties. Being twin sisters they are very close and love to cuddle up, and they wash each other too - at least, Ruby does most of the work! I love photographing them in their various antics.

    How awesome to have sat under Hippocrates' tree! That's really something. He was so wise, especially as at that time they had very little knowledge of the internal workings of the body. These days we seem to have the technical knowledge but have lost the wisdom. How awesome it would be to get those two things together! I am very pleased with my hubby's health results recently - I shouldn't be surprised really, after all the research I've done into whole-food plant-based nutrition over the past few months - these results are to be expected with this lifestyle, but it's very pleasing nonetheless. Now the lockdown is easing somewhat and he's out and about more, I am having to be very diligent and firm with him or he may slip back into some of his old unhealthy ways - he is fairly engaged with what we are doing and knows it's serious because he's seen it working, but he's not interested enough to dig deeper and understand the science behind it, and why it works - at the moment he's mostly focused on weight loss, which is actually only a side-effect of the more profound basic health changes taking place. I've promised to take him shopping once he's got to a healthy and stable weight, and kit him out with some nice new clothes - he's less than enthusiastic about this because I think he's afraid I'll hippyfy him lol lol!!! (One can but try...) I shall remind him that he told me he used to wear kaftans in the 1960s... He's got a LOT more conventional since those days!!

    Happy days.

    Shoshi x

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    1. Hello Shoshi!

      I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I'd gone on for so long I thought including the lads might be a step too far. No doubt they'll make an appearance before the week's out. They're both outside stalking mice as I type! It's adorable that your girls cuddle up together and wash each other. I've caught Stephen trying to groom Frank but he's not keen!
      I'd love to see some of the quirky objects in your house, after so long spent exclusively in our own homes even the items you might consider conventional are new and exciting.
      You've worked wonders with your husband's health. You've got it spot on when you said that "These days we seem to have the technical knowledge but have lost the wisdom". If he won't play nicely with a kaftan I think he'd look great in a block printed granddad shirt, Jon's got quite the collection!
      Take care and have a great week! xxx

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  26. What cool art! I love Liz's watercolor of you and John at Glastonbury. I must have lots of art hanging on the walls...can't stand bare walls or even small spots that look bare. Love your patchwork creations. I want to make a patchwork curtain for the bedroom, but first I need to get the motivation to lift my fabric storage bins and look through them. The hairdryer bedside light is awesome! Wow! Those gardens are incredible! I planted some Dinnerplate dhalias this year. Now I know why they're call Dinnerplate. They're almost as big as dinnerplates. Most are about 8 inches, but there was one that was about 10 inches across. I was really bummed when it finally dried up and I had to deadhead it. The plants grow really fast and are easy to care for. I think they're my new favorite flower to grow besides moss roses. My jalepeno plant was stunted, but since it's been so hot it started growing. So far there's one pepper growing. I guess if I only get one it's better than none. Take care and enjoy your week! Cheers!

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    1. Thanks, Cheryene! I'm with you on the bare walls, I'm sure minimalism has its place but it definitely isn't anywhere near me!
      You do have to be in the mood for patchwork, it can be a fiddle unless you're really feeling it.
      Those dinnerplates dahlias sound amazing, so big or go home. I think I shall try to grow some next summer. Good luck with the jalapeno, one is better than none. xxx

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  27. I love the Oxford dictionary's definition of art as "the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination". To me, art can be applied to everything and anything that pleases my eye. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder! I love your eclectic collection of bedroom art and that it features portraits of you and Jon among the Trechikoffs and Lynches :-) Your patchwork creations are absolutely gorgeous, and I've always admired Jon's hairdryer turned bedside light. I am ever so slightly envious of your visit to Biddulph Grange Garden! That garden is simply magnificent, and there's so much to see I can imagine it wasn't easy to tear yourself away. Oh those Dahlias! How do they manage to keep them so pristine looking, I wonder. Mine always seem to succumb to diseases. I was surprised to find myself at the end of your post, as it didn't really feel like an epic one, being so engrossed in your art and that garden visit! xxx

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    1. Don't they say that if it provokes a reaction then it's art? I think a lot of people think art has to be a highbrow painting or a sculpture when it could be anything that makes up stop, think and smile.
      You and Jos would love Biddulph. Maybe a possible trip for next year? There's several museums dedicated to Staffordshire Pottery nearby that I think you'd find fascinating, too.
      Aren't those dahlia's amazing? I read up about them and was a bit put off by learning that you had to dig them up and replant them every year but now Beate has mentioned that you can grow them in pots it seems a lot less daunting, I'm less likely to lose a pot! xxx

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  28. I love having a peek at people's art! What an excellent idea.

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    1. It is, isn't it? I really enjoyed admiring the art in other people's homes. x

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  29. What a beautiful green space, and so many lovely colours of Dahlias! It would be such a treat to be able to go for a walk in a garden like that.

    I have art on all the walls of my apartment too, much of it was found at thrift stores, and some was created by friends. I can't imagine living somewhere where you aren't allowed to hang things on the walls. I've always been a fan of your patchwork creations, and envy Jon for his ability to transform drab, no-longer-useful items into wondrous, useful things.

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    1. Isn't it wonderful? I loved accessing each area through tunnels and archways to, it felt like a real adventure. Those dahlias are wonderful, aren't they? So many colours and differing shapes.
      I don't think I could live in a house that didn't have art all over the walls. When I think back to the rentals I lived in when I was younger I often remember the posters I disguised the walls with more than the actual room! xxx

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  30. I came here Via Kezzie and really enjoyed seeing all your art, all so personal too. Your bedroom is a work of art in itself, I love all the patchwork! What a coincidence, I visited Biddulph Grange Garden at the weekend, I met a friend there for walk!

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    1. Thanks so much for popping over, Louise. What a coincidence that you also visited Biddulph this week. xxx

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  31. Hi Vix, I got lost in your blog. I enjoyed looking at the art of you and Jon and that selfie is perfect. I love the painting from the photo and the others also. Then I got lost in the garden. Such manicured garden and that huge urn... I'm so glad I took part in this Blogger Art Gallery. Then I got lost in the comments, lol. It has been loads of fun although time consuming but it has been all worth it. I wish your name was higher on the list though. It has taken me some time to get here.

    Thanks for sharing your art with us.
    Julia

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    1. Hello Julia! Thank you so much for popping over and leaving a comment. it's lovely to meet you. xxx

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  32. OI, where is the wall of misery!?!??!?! I was looking forward to that!
    ;-)
    I really enjoyed the selected art you shared- how amazing to have pictures of YOU! Claire's style is so distinctive- I knew it was by her instantly!I've only been painted once- when I was 19, I went on a String quartet course in France and an artist painted our quartet. I remember I was wearing a lilac top!
    I think your quilt is beautiful and there are so many amazing handcrafted items in your house. Jon's lamp is a masterpiece and makes me think of those boombox vintage suitcases he did!

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    1. I thought if I featured all the art in the house you'd all die of boredom!
      Thanks for hosting such a brilliant link-up, it was a lovely idea and great to meet a few bloggers I didn't know! xxx

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  33. Such lovely art especially the one of you both.Perhaps Jon could make a little folly as some grand country homes have for when the rain comes x

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    1. Isn't it a beautiufl place? We do have a plan for a little bad weather building in the future, nowhere near as grand though! xxx

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  34. I adore that watercolour of you & Jon, and I’ve always admired your patchwork quilts. If I was a decent sort of lockdown human I’d have got out my almost finished quilt and got it finished over the passed 120+ days, but it still sits in a chest waiting for me to pluck up the courage to continue with it… I will, one day.
    I really enjoyed Kezzie’s art gallery idea.
    The Biddulph Grange Garden is so lush, look at all the green! What a stunning place. I love dahlias, haven’t had much luck growing them, but those photos are a treat to see! I like the pom pom variety, they’re just so perfectly and beautifully symmetrical.
    xx

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    1. A decent sort of lockdown human! Tell me about it, I was certain I'd be fluent in conversational Greek by now.
      Wasn't Kezzie's idea fun? I loved your collection.
      Biddulph was wonderful, I'm really inspired to try a dahlia next year! The National trust ought to be sponsored by a gardening website, my wishlist gets longer after each visit! xxx

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  35. Gosh, you get up early for your adventures! Can't remember the last time I saw 6:30 without the cats arsing around. But that looks like a lovely day out. The Chinese Water Garden is really pretty, and probably looks good all year round with those colourful built areas.

    Dahlias are fab; I'm planning to get more for next year, though the slugs like them too so I may well be throwing my money away...

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    1. I'm usually awake for 5am although I try my best to stay in bed until 6am - unless it's sunny and I have to get up!
      Oh no, slugs are vile. I'm so tempted to try dahlias next year. x

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  36. What a wonderful post - truly, full of wonders! Your whole life - house, outfits, home-made meals - is art! But I am always happy to see your art collection up-close.

    The garden is spectacular!! I can see you were inspired taking photos there. Well done! You look gorgeous, as always!

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  37. Epic post, indeed. I like seeing your vintage art. And that magnificent garden must be a form of art too. X

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  38. Lovely post and lots of delightful photos of flowers, gardens, art and You!. Love all of them!. The Chinese Garden and the Dahlias Garden are both Amazing!!
    And you look fab in your embroidered dress!. Obviously, I'm loving your tomatoes dress too, it's such a lovely print! and you rock it!
    besos

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Thank you for leaving a comment. If you have a blog I'll pop over and return the favour.

Lots of love, Vix