If you're worried your house is a mess, there's always someone elses house which will put your own perceived untidiness into perspective............... Today I'm volunteering to make you all feel great about your own homes, however tidy or messy, by showing you the state of my home recently.
There is a lot of painting going on at the moment. In the above photo is one filing cabinet, destined, once finished, for my studio. This is a bit of a long drawn out project, because my first choice of colour, Lilac, was abandoned. It's now painted over with this Duck-Egg blue, as are the standard lamp base and the flower pot. After all, I might as well use up all my paint, mightn't I?
There's that lilac I was just talking about, on the set of shelves. They were originally used to hold C.D.'s in my old studio, their new purpose in life is going to be shelving for nick-nacks. But I have to do something about that lilac,it's not going to work against the pink walls of my studio. Maybe I'll paint the sides green, leaving the edges lilac.......................
And here is our bedroom............... which we're not sleeping in at the moment!
The floorspace is piled high with books, which have been sitting there for a while, waiting to find homes on shelves. I have good news about that, because they are soon to get a new home, in my old studio.
Shelves, glorious shelves! That's what Hugo and I have been doing over this last weekend. And I don't know if you recall me mentioning a rat problem? Well, Hugo opened up the wall, and there were no rats to be seen, they'd packed their bags! I can't tell you how relieved we were to just find the remains of an old nest, which has all been cleaned up now.
There's just this one bit of wall to seal up again.
Hugo did all the carpentry work, I was his helper............. He's done an amazing job I think.
Hugo, you're wonderful!
Hugo also made these shelves in the house for magazines and his cookery books. They're not quite finished, but I'm painting them anyway.
There isn't a room in the house which isn't being used for something to do with painting, building shelves or repairing, it feels slightly crazy. While Hugo was building shelves, I busied myself with stripping the paint off this garden bench. It had got in a terrible state, and I found that some of the slats were a bit rotten. Gosh it's a laborious task, this D.I.Y.ing, isn't it?
But I suppose once it's done, it's done. We'll be pleased we've spent our time on this when we see the finished result, which I'm DESPERATE to see! Actually, we have a very good incentive to get this work done, books shifted, house tidied.......... (house relaxed).............. My mum and Dad are arriving on the seventh April, to stay for a week. They've said they don't mind camping, and they don't mind mess, but there's just one little problem, I'm house proud.............. I want it to look welcoming and comfortable for them. Plus, there's nothing quite like the imminent arrival of guests to spur me into action. All those things that needed doing, get done, which is a positive thing in my book............... So I hope you don't mind, but I'm just going to take this week off from blogging so I can make a concentrated effort to get all the jobs done, as the only time spare to do them, is after work each day. But I'll be back next Monday with photos of a neat and tidy house. I hope! Have a good week and take care............. Love Vanessa xxx
Fancy stepping back in time?
If you ever get the opportunity to go to Ryedale Folk Museum, in North yorkshire, honestly, it's worth a visit. The photo above is taken looking in to the window of the 'village shop', which was my favourite building in the museum.
When I spotted the red Gingham curtain in the window, I was seized by a sudden sense of excitement. Gingham fabric just seems to bode well for me. And I wasn't disappointed, because when I stepped inside, it was like stepping into the past........... so excting, I can't tell you how exciting.
Buttons casually pinned to the wall.............
Examples of how sweets used to be wrapped.
Posters with adorably dressed children on them.
That Kellogs packaging! I love it.
I do like their 'top tip' for a useful present.
Am I right in thinking that 'Table Cream' is a posh term for powdered milk? If I am right, I propose that we all return to calling powdered milk, Table Cream, so genteel.
And I love, love, love how the All-Bran packet tells it how it is........ It's put much more delicately on today's packaging, isn't it?
I wonder if the colours of these reels of cotton thread had exactly the same wow factor, back then, as they do now?
These quilts weren't in the village shop, they were on a bed, in a cottage, decorated in the Victorian style. But I had to show them to you, because I think they're beautiful.
I like these rag rugs, which we were quite free to walk over. If I had the time to take on another hobby, I'd get into making rag rugs for our house, sadly there just aren't enough hours in the day to start a new past time. ( I think I just heard Hugo breath a sigh of relief).
Shame the light was so dim in this old building, in the museum grounds, because I'm not sure you get the full beauty of this quilt. I love red and white quilts. You might feel you've been round the museum in this post, but no, no, no, I've only showed you a teensy weensy fraction of what's to be seen there. There are even some friendly sheep, one of whom likes to be tickled under his chin. We spent an afternoon at the museum, but you could easily stretch viewing the sights over a day. Next week it's back to life at home, because that is the last of our North Yorkshire holiday. We had a wonderful time, such a lovely break. And we stayed in the most gorgeous little cottage called "The Hideaway".It's beautifully decorated, and is perfect for a couple. Sarah and Dom are the lovely owners, and Sarah has a delicious foodie blog called 'rose petal jam'. It always amazes me how much there is to see and do, just a couple of hours drive away, we feel very fortunate to have access to these places................. Maybe we should try West Yorkshire next time?
I'm ashamed to admit this, but I'm pretty shameless when it comes to sneaking a look through windows of houses, especially those windows where the curtains haven't yet been drawn at night, and the light is on in the room, illuminating the entire contents. My shameful theory is that if the occupants didn't want strangers looking into their house, they would draw their curtains wouldn't they?............ Wouldn't they?!!!!! I reckon I've inherited this appalling nosiness from my Mum, who, when we were children, and even now, used to cause us to gasp with shock, as she blithely went into a half built house, on an accessible building site, to "just have a quick look". And "no one will know".
A trip to Robin Hood's Bay, in North Yorkshire, would test the self control of the most "I never look in the windows of people's houses, it's rude", person.............. Just walking through the tiny 'streets', too small to allow access to cars, is like walking through the residents front gardens. The line between public and private is impossible to fathom.
I have to admit, my levels of nosiness were tested in Robin Hood's Bay. Where was it alright to look? In the process of all the exciting exploration of the maze of lanes, we'd suddenly come onto what seemed to be someone's back garden, which felt a bit embarrassing.
We visited Robin Hoods Bay when we were last in North Yorkshire, but I don't remember having these feelings on our first visit. I can only guess that we were so caught up in the excitement of the exploration, our awareness of the resident's privacy was a little numbed.
Imagine if the owner of this front door had suddenly opened it, to find me taking a photograph! How mortifying would that have been!
Or the occupant of this house had pushed aside these net curtains........... Red faces all round.
Robin Hoods Bay is very much geared to tourists, so I imagine the residents are used to strangers ogling their homes. Still, I imagine they don't particularly enjoy it.
Once we had had our fill of exploring, we went to a cafe for a fizzy drink, and a sit down. Hugo and I could not help hearing the loud conversation the two ladies were having at the next table. It was mainly about re-grouting tiles in their kitchens, so I drifted off, but Hugo later repeated something the quiet gentleman sitting with the ladies said, which I had not heard, that made me laugh ........... "I give you the Earth, you ask for the Moon". Apparently he'd said it very quietly...............
I bet those Seagulls think they own Whitby. They are big and plump, and splendid, and I spent a good amount of time just watching them, while we were in Whitby for a few hours on our holiday, while Hugo went in search of fish and chips.
Hugo observed that the gulls never seem to preen themselves, yet they look so pearly white and spotless. Maybe they've got the feather equivalent of self-cleaning glass, dirt just doesn't stick to their feathers.
They are widely disliked aren't they? I may be in the minority of people who think they are beautiful birds. I know they're very large, and they can look frightening with their lethal looking beaks and penetrating yellow eyes, but I still can't help thinking they're quite characterful.
I'm convinced this guy thought I was a safe bet for a fish and chip supper, that's why he stood, balancing perfectly on the railing, and fastened me with his beady eye.
Other birds looked at me and wandered away, this chap looked at me and decided I was his meal ticket. Sadly he was wrong, because I wandered off to find Hugo, who was obviously in a very long fish and chip queue.
I'm ever so sorry old chap.
Quick, there's a chip on the ground there, one of your pals has missed.
When I found Hugo, the perils of ordering a child's sized portion of chips was related to me. Hugo didn't want the mountain of chips he saw everyone else walking away with, so he asked for a small helping. The word 'small' wasn't in their vocabulary it seems. To the man behind the counter, 'small' equaled child sized. When I saw the 'child sized' portion, I couldn't help thinking it would feed two adults. Maybe the unspoken idea is that you eat what you can................... and feed the rest to the Seagulls.
Sometimes a wrong turning in life can be just the thing to improve your quality of life. While driving into Whitby, on our Yorkshire holiday last week, we followed the signs for Whitby, but must have followed incorrectly, because we ended up going on a round-about journey to get where we wanted to be. But it was a really GREAT wrong turn from my point of view, because Hugo saw this............
"Look, there's a fabric shop", said Hugo.
I hadn't seen it.
"Oh pleeeeese can we go there?"
"O.k. After a cup of tea".(Code for 'after I've fortified myself').
Imagine this.......... A room stocked floor to ceiling with bolts of fabric, and crafty bits and bobs. And Judith herself, a lovely neatly attired, (in Twinset), lady, standing smiling behind her beautifully arranged and ordered counter. The Twinset was perfect. The shop was perfect and gloriously old fashioned, with everything in its place............. lovingly placed. Judith doesn't have an on-line shop unfortunately. But if you're ever in Whitby, you can find her shop at 'Judiths Fabrics', 12-13 Brunswick Street, Whitby, North Yorkshire YO21 1RB. Her telephone number is 01947 603 213. I think she will mail fabric to people, but only accepts cash or cheques in payment.
I vaguely remember salivating slightly. Oooooohhhh, can you feel my excitement? I was very excited, though I was trying to be decorous in Judith's calm presence. I think Hugo sensed my delight, he certainly didn't even try to stop that crazed look in my eye. He even helped me carefully lift down bolts of fabric.
Once I had established that I would buy thirty centimeters of each fabric I chose, I got down to the serious business of selecting. I don't know about you, and this may sound a little crazy, but when I get excited about things like wool, material, ribbons, buttons, paper.............. Well, I feel like I'm going to burst, and that is a bit painful. Yes, excitement can be a painful thing when it's very intense................ almost like holding my breath for too long. You see I'd made a snap decision to allow myself to just buy pretty much what I liked. Decisions like that are a bit like the start of a roller coaster ride, a bit scary.
I should really display my fabric purchases so that I get to see them every day, I love to just stare at them.
I like to admire my fabric stash............
.............Like you might enjoy looking at a painting.
I find it very satisfying, looking at these neatly folded 30cm pieces of fabric.
These pretty patterns make me think, quite simply, that life is...............
Sweet and good.
That little holiday in North Yorkshire did us a lot of good................. I'm sorry I've taken so long to tell you all about it.............. I was uploading a few pictures and writing a little each day after we returned, but this has turned into a longer post than I usually do, and I never seemed to have the time to finish it off last week ................. So here goes!
What a jolly time we had! Our short break away, seemed more like a nice long, week's holiday.
The high-light of our trip was a day spent on various steam trains, forming part of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway experience.
I don't think I've ever been on a steam train before, maybe in my childhood, but I don't recall it .............. Hugo and I tried to go on the steam train last year, end of January, but the trains weren't running, it was too early in the season. So we promised ourselves we'd return, board the train, and have the full steam train experience, when it was open to the public.
We were as excited as excitable children. A ride on a steam train! Hugo spent hours going over the timetable, to see how we could get off at all the stations on the line, in one day.
We managed to get a compartment to ourselves, and before the train set off, there was a lot of sticking our heads out of the windows. It was only later that we realised our faces were getting covered in soot.
The train's journey began at Grosmont station. Each station had its buildings painted in a particular colour combination, and I liked the turquoise, cream and red of Grosmont station best.
The signage! Beautifully preserved and looked after, a real joy. It's so unusual to see cast iron signs, everything is plastic these days, isn't it?
And the sound of the steam! Hissing and puffing, the whole train heaved and sighed. Then the whistle sounded, and we were off!
Our first stop was Goathland station, where the colour scheme of the platform buildings was this terracotta red and butter coloured cream. The village of Goathland is where the t.v. series "Heartbeat" is filmed. It's a very pretty village, tiny............ but with a long row of gift shops and tea rooms. We ended up in the tea room at the farthest end, the one with the red gingham check curtains and table cloths...............
For a shared scone, a cup of tea, and a read of the Saturday newspaper.
It might have been sunny outside, but Goathland is on a windswept hill, and we were chilled from the cold wind. We also had two hours to fill before catching the train to the next station. A tea and scone, at eleven in the morning, with the weekend paper to read, in a warm tea room............... how English and wonderfully traditional is that?
I don't know if our trains here in the U.K have a world wide reputation for being late? I now suspect it's actually inbuilt into all our public transport, because our next train was late! It didn't bother us at all, we had nowhere to rush off to, I just thought it was amusing that even this railway line, with only two trains operating at one time, could be fifteen minutes late. No one was bothered, we were all out on a leisurely Saturday............
We did get on a train eventually, to the last station on the line, Pickering, (such a wonderful name don't you think?). But to keep up with the timetable of trains, we had to turn round and head right back on the same train. There was one little station we stopped at, thinking there was a tea room we could spend an hour in. The tea room turned out to be a hut serving hot drinks, but nowhere to keep warm............. Hugo produced a bar of chocolate which I almost demolished in my attempts to keep warm.............. And then ten minutes before the next train was due, the Station master invited us into his control room to look at all the levers, boxes, and log books. He had a little fire going in the grate, and a comfortable arm chair, and he was dressed in a Forties Station Master outfit, with a waistcoat............. He even had a thick moustache.............. looked just the part, and I felt I was stepping back in time, which I love the idea of, (I once wrote to Jim'll fix it when I was a child, asking to be transported back in time............ I never got a reply). And it was WARM! We stayed in there until the next train arrived. In the next few photographs, I'm going to show you the train arriving..............
What else can I show you?
The pile of wonderful old luggage in one of the stations waiting rooms, which also had a fire blazing away in the fire place...................
This original sleeper with its carved lettering, moss growing in the lines of the letters, resembling..............
.........Tufts of hair.
Everyone on the platform was transfixed by this man............
..........Shoveling the coal.
I had to show you the wire racks you can see through the train guards door window, very covetable.................
I think my last photograph from that day has to be a shot of the steam from the train. Everything about that day was memorable, and it all centered around the steam train. The pace of life was slower, there was a feeling of values and happiness in the air. And what was truly amazing and memorable about that day, was that everyone got off the train smiling........... us included. It really was a fabulous day out.
It's quite something when you can get a suitcase down from the attic, and write a message in the layer of dust coating the lid.
Sigh................ I dislike packing. It's the practicality that is involved, and the slight worry that something vital will be forgotten. Even the packing for a long weekend away is accompanied by a touch of anxiety.
I always start by gathering the most important things of all, drawing and painting paraphernalia, knitting and crochet supplies, (always enough for at least three months work, which never ever gets used up), reading material. Only then can I launch into the job of calculating what clothes I will need, (I always think I will need more than I can ever use). I used to plan a couple of days before packing started, laying clothes out, mulling it all over. Now my style of packing is closer to Hugo's. Pack before going to bed, the night before leaving.
I love the lining on the inside of this little suitcase................. I'll see you next week then.................... Have a lovely weekend............. Cheerio.
Whether I'm at home, or out on a long walk, I've always got some sort of knitting available incase I take a break.
If I don't have my knitting, or some crochet project, stowed away in my bag, I feel insecure and ill at ease. My theory is, the time I don't have some fibre project with me, will be the time I will be stuck waiting around with nothing to do. The very idea!
When this photo was taken, we'e been walking the dogs, and had stopped for a picnic. Then it was time to relax. Me with my knitting, Hugo reclining and watching the dogs didn't stray too far near the edge of the cliff.
Actually, I suppose Hugo wasn't really relaxing if he was having to watch the doggies, and take photographs of me, and fend off the loving but curious Douglas.
And sort out exactly what it was Ellie wanted badly enough, to stand directly infront of Hugo, giving him a long hard stare.
Maybe Ellie just wanted to carry on with the walk..................
Asking nicely probably had the desired effect.
We moved on.
Now the scarf is finished, and I love it. It's knitted in Noro Kureyon no.95. The pattern is from a little book titled, "Vogue Knitting, scarves, two", from their "on the go!" series. And it's the "rib and stripe" pattern.
I love the colours in this Noro yarn, they're so rich and vibrant, and this colorway has a lot of my favourite colour combination running through it, pink and green. Knitting with these variegated yarns is something I enjoy, because of the surprise element, never really knowing how it will turn out until it's knitted up. And Noro yarns are very luxurious. I think this wool gets softer the more you wash it, because it was bordering on being a tiny bit scratchy at first. I think the scarf season is almost coming to an end now .............................. ....................................................................................... What am I saying? I wear scarves all year round here in the North of England!
My Niece, Millie, has quite a bit of bling for her age............ five years old. And most of it is my fault.
I buy her the majority of the stuff................. I think there might be a slight worry on her Dad's behalf that I'm cultivating a love of cheap, garish plastic jewelery in my Niece. Or maybe Millie and I just share a liking for bright colours.
I often think that the jewelery produced for children is far more interesting than the more tasteful and restrained adult jewelery you find on the high street. Every time I buy a necklace or bracelet for Millie, it's touch and go as to whether it will actually make it as a gift, or will I wear it myself ?
These photographs were taken when I was visiting my sister in London, and Millie wanted to show me all her jewelery................ Actually, that's a fib, I asked Millie to show me her jewelery collection! And then we both took photographs on my camera, so I'm not sure which of these photos are mine, or Millie's, (except the top one, that's definately one I took). When I buy these gifts for my Niece, I'm not sure who gets more enjoyment out of it, me or Millie ...................... It's probably me, isn't it?
I walked into my studio this morning, and was greeted by the most striking shadows on my desk.
The studio may be in a state of unfinishedness, but I still have to have my flowers around me....................... And do you like my table? It's a cheap table from Ikea which I had fun ageing with a saw and hammer some years ago, and then painting. I've since found that keeping it smooth would have been the better option. The things we do for "style" hey?!!!
Shadows........... for me shadows are one of life's little pleasures.............. fleeting, and often extraordinary.
Hello, my name is Vanessa Cabban, and I'm so pleased you've dropped by! I'm an artist and illustrator, working from home. I have two Miniature wire-haired Dachshunds, Ellie and Douglas. I love being part of the blogosphere, reading your comments, and feeling like I'm part of a community. I hope you enjoy reading about my small world.
AN IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT MY BLOG AND WORK: Please note that the photos and text, my creations and my art shown on my blog are copyrighted and may not be copied, in whole or in part, without my express permission. Patterns and techniques shown in my tutorials may be followed but for personal use only and not for commercial reward. Thank you.
Books I have illustrated!
The Best Gift of All
Book and dvd,(narrated by Kevin Whateley), of Bringing Down the Moon