Friday, 22 January 2010

Good things seem to come in threes!

....... and that certainly seems to have been my recent experience!

My First Good Thing:
Back in December I entered a competition set by Monica at to work out her favourite modern art sculpture at Meijer Gardens (easy - there were several photos of a bright orange 'thing', which was 'Aria' by Alexander Liberman!) and to identify where the lyrics "Caw! I guess it was alive!" came from.
I spent ages trawling t'internet in search of that flippin' quote ........I finally found it on YouTube done as a song called Mounted Animal Nature Trail by the Arrogant Worms (most amusing!)

Anyway, the upshot of my sheer stubborness not to be defeated by song lyrics from an obscure Canadian band meant that I was the very lucky winner of 'The Painted Garden - a year in words and watercolours' by Mary Woodin.

It's beautifully illustrated book as you can see from the photo below. It's a cracking good read, but you can also just dib into it for the sheer pleasure of looking at the paintings and picking up little snippets of useful information such as 'plant crocuses near lavendar to stop the birds pecking the petals' - a real gem! I love it ...thank you Monica :)

She also sent me some very scrummy 'Twilight Delight' dark chocolate, which I thoroughly enjoyed and which made me re-evaluate my relationship with American chocolate! Me and Hershey Bars have never really bonded!
My Second Good Thing:
Around the same time, Diana at offered a limited edition print of one of her paintings to celebrate her anniversary of 3 years of blogging. I was obviously up there amongst the best begging letters in her comments box (oh how I can grovel when I really, really want something!) and was honoured to be chosen.

She sent me this lovely print of 'The Train Station', which is hand signed and numbered - but I can't tell you the number right now as the print is away at the framers even as I type. I'm hoping it'll be done within the next few days and I can't wait to get it back! I know exactly where I'm going to put it - which wasn't where I first thought of, but doesn't involve redecorating!!!
Sadly my photo really doesn't do it justice though.Thank you so much Di, I'll treasure it and care for it :)

My Third Good Thing:
is Himself!
This will seem obvious to regular readers as Himself is the star in my firmament in all things tea house (and lots of other things too ....... ooops, starting to wax a bit lyrical and soppy here, but you know what I mean!)

ANYWAY, the reason this time is non-tea house related! For ages now we've had an old clock in the hall which Himself found on ebay. (the clock, not the hall!) It came out of the old Vauxhall car factory and was the master clock used to regulate all the other clocks in the factory as well as the clocking on/off machine. He did some fancy electronic magic to make it work, but really wanted to find a slave clock to run off it.
(ignore the mushy pea green hall ....NOT our choice, but there's no point in decorating here until we've done everywhere else!)

Having finally found a slave clock on ebay, Himself discovered that one clock had a 30 second motion and the other had a 1 minute motion. This called for even greater electronic wizardry so, whilst we'd got the hatches battened down during the great snows, Himself got to work and produced this thing of beauty...........!

The end result was that the slave clock in the kitchen is now wired into the master clock in the hall - so we now have two clocks that actually tell the same (and correct) time! The clock suits the age and style of the house and fits in beautifully. It's also made of the same type of wood as the renovated servants bell box which is in the kitchen.
I'm chuffed to bits with it ...and Himself!

What en excellent start to 2010!
Ooops, forgot to mention that I'd promised First-born I'd give a little plug to her Etsy shop, . She makes gorgeous things out of reclaimed and vintage materials, and all her packaging is recycled. Here are a couple of examples of her work:
A handstitched patchwork cushion

..... and recycled envelopes made into notebooks.
Pop in and have a look! Thanks :)


Anonymous said...

Congratulations on all of your winnings. 2010 really does seem to have got off to a flying start for you. I am so pleased that you now have all your clocks working, and together, and was fascinated to learn about the one which came from the Vauxhall factory.

Anonymous said...

The painted garden seems perfect to go with your ongoing creation and development of your own yard. When we add a splash of colour to something that exists in our view, then the world magically shifts to adjust to our newest perceptions.

The train station looks fun. Where are you going to buy a ticket next upon the tracks of life?

Thomas said...

Congratulations! What great prizes! I was lucky enough to get one of Di's prints as well. I wish everyone could see first hand how amazing it is.

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

Well those are all very good things! How lucky to have all 3 :)
Your daughter is very talented, lots of cute things in her shop!

Ruth said...

I have to say I am looking forward to coming home to clocks that actually tell me the time, it has been 11 o'clock in the hall for years.
Thank you for the plug mum, I really need to sort out a bit of advertising.

And thank you for your comment Catherine :)

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Edith - it's a real pleasure to have two clocks inthe house that tell the same time at last! I'm like you ...I do so love knowing those extra little snippets of information about old objects. Don't know where the slave clock originally came from though!

Hi Bernie - you're so right about colour! I've been planning (in that loose, vague way that I 'plan' my garden!) to have lots more flowers this year to bring colour into some fairly bland areas I've been slowly developing. I've never really got into annuals as I'm a bit of a 'plant them and let them develop' perennials lover, but annual flowers are getting their turn this year!

The train station is wonderful and I love that bit of mystery ain the background could imagine being just about anywhere in the world on that platform. I don't think chesterfield will be selling tickets for where my tracks are taking me! :)

Hi Thomas - oh another lucky winner! My photo certainly doesn't do it justice. Can't wait to get it back framed up!

Hi Catherine - yep, I'm one lucky woman at the moment! Thanks for having a look at Ruth's site and I'm glad you like what she makes.She always been very creative, but is doing the Etsy shop to try to get a bit more money to help with her university costs!
The level of detail in her work is superb! My favourite thing that she's made me is a shopping bag made out of coffee bags (the sort you buy ground coffee in at the supermarket) - she really ought to make another one and put it in her shop! ....are you listening Ruth?!

Hi darling! It's actually quite strange it NOT being 11 o'clock in the hall! Make a coffee bag!!!
see you soon, love you xxx

Camellia said...

SOme really great stuff. And as usually, your Himself is kind of jawdropping. Please tell me there is one, single problem he CAN'T solve ;-)

Di said...

Hello Liz! you are a lucky lady to receive so many prizes. ;) Himself is quite the talent, and the vintage clock is wonderful..perfect in your hallway. Please tell your daughter her work is outstanding!

Have a wonderful weekend. By the way, did you get the warmer weather we sent your way? Diana

Muddy Boot Dreams said...

Wow, quite the creative family. Love the idea of the clocks running to the same time. What a concept? I work in a retail store where no clock matches the other, makes you wonder if you are coming or going.

Great book, and a lovely print, you are very fortunate!


Woody Wilbury said...

Ah, beginning to make a connection here! Di has posted on my blog too, and may come to the Portland launch of the David Douglas film on April 8th. Small blogging world.

And I love the painting; very Edward Hopper.

Himself is a clever soul indeed. I don't begin to understand how he did it but am reet impressed. The circuit board frightened me off!

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Liz! I need to check into that book, "The Painted Garden," as it looks wonderful! And the print is also very special. What a great way to begin 2010.

I believe you've the best "bargain" in Himself... he is certainly creative and innovative (as are you). You're a great pair. :-) Have a great weekend!

Pondside said...

Congrats on all the wins - what a way to get through January!
I'm glad you liked the Arrogant Worms. They're featured often on CBC and some of their stuff is very, very clever.
A servants' bell box??? Wouldn't we all have more time to blog if we could ring for a servant?

Cheryl said...

The book is quite lovely.....congrats for deserved it after all that research.

Well done to your daughter....her products look really lovely.

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Camellia - I asked Himself your question and he says that he can't do the 'touchy-feely talking to people kind of stuff'! ... and it's true :)

Hi Di - should be able to pick the print up on Tuesday!!!! I'm really sorry the photo didn't do it justice :(

We've had a great weekend - got lots done in the garden and went out for a lovely Thai meal last night! The weather is a lot milder, but we worked in fine drizzle today - at least I don't shrink in the rain!

Hi Jen - it's a bit of a novelty for us to have two clocks on the same time ...usually no clocks match!
Us Brits were very keen on the clocking on/ clocking off stuff in the 40's and 50's because people were paid by the hour - so it was vital that the clocks were all accurate so that everyone was correctly paid - sounds like your shop could do with borrowing it! :)

Ey up Woody! It'd be great if you got to meet Di at the Portland launch. She always sounds so lovely! I take it you got all the technical stuff sorted ...even though I'm still dreaming of Ewan doing the narration! I was talking to a friend about the programme and ended up showing her the dvd - I enjoyed 3rd time round too!

Himself's a star and I definitely don't do circuit boards :)

Hi Shady - the book is well worth getting, it's so lovely to dib into for a few minutes and be whisked away to another place! I love the print too - should get it back from the framers on Tuesday!

Thank you! I think it's fair to say that me and Himself balance very well in terms of personalities and skills mixes. It works! :)

Hi Pondside - yes, the Arrogant Worms really made me laugh - it was worth the trouble of chasing up that quote!

Himself renovated the wiring and I renovated the actual box - maybe I should do a little post on it? Most of the bells now work and, as long as I tell her beforehand, Last-Born will bring me a glass of wine if I ring the bathroom bell when I'm in the bath cool is that?!!!

Hi Cheryl - I can't believe how lucky I was to win both things!

I'll pass on yours and Di's comments to Ruth - she'll be thrilled to get some unbiased feedback!

Rob (ourfrenchgarden) said...

Hi Liz

Lucky you. You could practically make a living entering competitions, some do.

I liked that station print in particular.

So himself is handy at electronics as well. I'm laughing, of course he is!!!


Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Rob,
Do people really make a living from competitions?!.....I think I'd rather have a life! :)

The print looks even better in real life.

Himself got a First in Physics at Cambridge. I still haven't found a technical problem that he can't solve!!!

Dessa said...

Sounds like 2010 is going to be a bang up year! You made out, girl! And how nice to have such a handy Himself around the house.

Nutty Gnome said...

I tell you what Dessa ...Himself is a star!!! :)

Titania said...

Hi LIz, The painted garden book looks delightful. I made a note of it. Generally I do not buy many garden books any more, but I think I would like this one.
I like your dining room/kitchen? it looks very elegant and cosy.

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Titania - and thank you for your comments and for following's always a surprise to me when people do that!!!

The book is a real joy, I love it.

You're right, it's a combined dining kitchen - it's 25ft long by 16ft wide and we created it by knocking down the wall between the kitchen and the breakfast room. I'm so glad you like it, it's my favourite room out of the ones that we have finished. Loads of people said we shouldn't do it ....but then admitted they were wrong!It's very functional, but cosy as well :)

Carolynn said...

I hardly know where to begin! What bounty.

The book is exquisite and I love the painted sweetpeas!

Such a clever husband you have and your daughter is very creative, as well.

Carolynn said...

I forgot to mention that I actually like the apple green walls & the colours you have in your kitchen. Very fresh & cheerful.

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Carolynn. The paintings in the book are beautiful!I'm really enjoying reading it - and wishing I could paint like that!

Himself is seriously clever and can sort out any technological problem. First-Born is very creative and talented with anything fabric based and Last-Born makes beautiful, unique jewellery!
Me?......I do gardens! :) - and the décor in the house. I love the kitchen as it never fails to cheer me up!

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Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Hi Liz, so glad the book got there in good shape! And also cool that you won that print and that Himself is so helpful! (My Himself wasn't!) LOL, I was going to comment that I love the green of those walls, because I do. And of course I also love mushy peas, so there you go! :)

joey said...

Your are one lucky, lucky, gal! I have a feeling this is going to be a wonderful 2010 for you and, ditto, love the green walls :)

Nutty Gnome said...

Hey Monica - the book is wonderful and has been great reading whilst I've been ill in bed for a few days didn't matter that I kept falling asleep, I could just start again from where the book opened and I didn't need to concentrate very hard either!

Hi Joey. I do hope it's going to be a good year!! The green walls have got to go though!
The hall, stairs and landing are all painted green - but all slightly different shades where they have been touched up over the years ... and that's a large expanse of walls to not quite match! :)