Thursday, 29 July 2010

A Haven in the Manor

Our friends have lent us their Manor House while they are away. What a blessing it has been for us! There is wild, historical beauty at every turn.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

The beauty of produce

Well, my children are very clever. They discovered our friends' vegetable garden, went picking, and laid out a beautiful still life, without me even asking! It's quite beautiful.

Blogging Identity Crisis

I'm sure you've noticed my post regularity has dropped significantly in the past couple of weeks. Well, it is partly to do with moving countries, but really that's no excuse.

The main reason is that I am having a bit of an identity crisis when it comes to my writing. This was precipitated by my week in Oxford where, among many other things, I met an eminent young blogger of the non-mommy kind, namely Matthew Anderson, who writes Mere Orthodoxy. He is also a "proper" author in the process of writing a fascinating book, and I would like to say (although he may deny it), an itinerant philosopher.

Meeting him, hearing him speak and reading his work put a magnifying glass on my own rather wishy-washy attempts to write. This blog is very much a patchwork of the many things that interest me. The problem is that on the days when nothing is interesting me, I have nothing to write. Many of you may think this is a good thing, that it is "being real". However, when you have a problem with self-discipline, as I do, "being real" can very easily look like "being lazy". So I am aware of the need for some structure and focus in my writing that can get me over the hazy troughs of unproductive unease that strike unannounced at least twice a week.

The next chapter in the story is my friend Megan, who I have introduced before. Boy do I miss having Megan around. I wish she would at least join Facebook! She is naturally a creative person's muse. She has a gift for seeking out the vision in others. I had the joy of a weekend with her recently, at which she said to me, "Cathy, you need to find your unique voice".

There it is again.

Now, as a final stamp of authority on an already clear message, I was told via an email to my husband by a dear, esteemed, and extremely eminent friend that the next step in my development as an outstanding young leader is to find a speciality to focus on.

Having heard the message, I have yet to figure out what to do about it, except that I have been swanning around in a mist of uncertainty, perhaps hoping that the focus, the vision, the unique voice will jump out at me from behind some bush and present itself in all its glory.

As that has not yet happened, I ask your patience. In the absence of immediate and exciting revelation, I may have to waffle on about various things until I stumble upon the thing. I invite you along for the ride.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Keep my coffee warm baby!

I don't know about you but I hate cold coffee, and always seems with coffee made in a plunger that by the time it has drawn to be strong enough to wake me up in the morning, it is also lukewarm. I found this free pattern on Ravelry, and it was a super-fast knit, using half a ball of natural unbleached wool yarn. It is so stylish, and practical too!

This would make a great gift, especially at the last minute.

I connect to these great linky parties.

Laundry Love

My sister-in-law has recently moved into her dream house. She deserves it too, after 16 years of tiny London apartments. Visiting there last week, she proudly showed me the large section of her kitchen which is going to become the "Utility" as they call it here in England, or the laundry. I expect she will put quite a lot of thought into how it is going to be organised, and so looking at that blank space I thought, what would I do if I could design my laundry area from scratch?

What a fun project! I know that a lot of people have to make do with the space under their kitchen sink, and haul the ironing board out of the wardrobe in a panic in the mornings to get the shirts done. Well, what if we could all have our fantasy laundry room? It can't hurt to dream a little...and then once we're inspired we can see what little touches we can bring from our fantasy world into real life, just to make things a little more enjoyable.

So the first thing I did was start drooling over the great stuff you find all over the web on design sites, and in magazines - you know those laundries that have been put together by a stylist and will never be touched by tumbledrier lint or bits of grass from inside your son's socks.

This is my dream fodder...

Hirondelle Rustique

Style At Home

Centsational Girl

Now, having waded through hundreds of inspiring photographs (after a while, you think you don't really want to do up your laundry room anymore...) I have to ask myself, how on earth does a normal person do ANYTHING inspiring with a real-life laundry? I mean for goodness sake, please tell me who has enough space in their house to have a laundry room like this?:

Hampton Design

So, back to the real world. Now, I did find a couple of normal, real-live women who have attempted pretty fantastic laundry-room makeovers. Here are a couple of examples:

and made this

Not bad right?

However, I think I would tire of this after a while. It's smart, and pretty but after a while I would forget what it looked like before.

No, what I am going to need to make laundry interesting are some unusual touches. I am going need the things I use to be beautiful. So, what about some handmade laundry soap?

un arc-en-ciel dans lavabo

Yes it's lovely, but it may get a little tedious having to grate all that soap. However, having a couple of bars next to the sink with an old grater ready to wash your pretty lace that's practical and stylish. And how about getting an old wash basin too...vintage utility items have an immense beauty, unique to each item because of the years of hard work put in on them by women just like us.

Not sure my white shirts would like the rust though...

Practically, though, it is quite easy to find the more old-fashioned laundry accessories, brand new. Wooden pegs, for example, are gorgeous and sturdy. And of course, you can go mad with storage items.

Country Living

So, to finish off, I did a bit of leg work for you to source some beautiful and practical laundry-room basics which you can buy online. So get yourself a cup of coffee (or tea), maybe a yummy piece of cake, and using these basics, build yourself a dream laundry (or at least just dream it).

Gorgeous Ironing Board Covers (you could get two and change them seasonally) are $25 from Etsy.

This cotton drawstring bag with pegs is on sale at Raw Edges Studio for $12.80

Isn't this sunshine yellow tin wash tub gorgeous? Guaranteed to brighten even the rainiest washdays. It's $40 from Sigmosaics.

And this is my favourite, because I have always used an old Ikea bag to keep my lost socks until their partners show up again.

It's $18 at Handmade By Bette.

Well, I could go on forever. Let me know if you use any of these ideas, I'd love to see what you're up to!

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Let's get to know one another again...

Seeing as I have been away from my blog for almost nine days, I thought I would use the great opportunity from Chic Click to meet some new people around the web, and also remind you who I am...

I am Cathy, the Wandering Woman. We are currently living in my in-laws home, our household is packed up in a crate waiting for the big boat to the USA, and we have three weeks left in England before we move over to Indiana to start a new life in a farm house with 30 acres, a barn with seven cats, a horse, chickens, a University, a sixteen seater van, two kiddos, and our home-grown Springer Spaniel, tabby cat and kitten in tow.

I write my blog to encourage women to be all they can in life, to follow their dreams and to keep their feet firmly on the ground. We all need a little bit of heaven, and a little bit of earth. I wrote more about this in one of my favourite posts Monday Morning Mindfulness - Heaven and Earth.

I'm back - everyone needs a holiday!

Well, most of you would call it a vacation, and it isn't really what I've had, but thank you for your patience while I have been absent here. Sometimes life just runs ahead of you and you can't keep up any more. We moved house and I went away on a week's conference, and when I got back I had completely lost my routine.

So here I am, and I am excited about some new ideas for my blog, and my life in fact. Looking forward to being back with all of you!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Melissa from Wife in Training writes...


Melissa from Wife in Training says

Monday, 5 July 2010

Chalkboard Paint and Bedding

Image:  Anthropologie

Melissa from Wife in Training says:

This is a pretty good indication of what preoccupatioins plague me at present. WHO CARES ABOUT THE CHALKBOARD PAINT, WHAT ABOUT THE BEDDING?


I have some very distinctive visuals for my ideal bedroom design. For lack of a better way to phrase it, we'll call it "eclectic boho gypsy global chic with a splash of paisley meets Alphonse Mucha in a Turkish Harem." Of course, the ideal falls quite short of the reality, which is more along the lines of "shambled trash can and nauseous closet throw up contents and meet Hurricane Katrina in the Lower Ninth." 

Needless to say, I've got a long way to go before I meet the ideal. And it all revolves around the bedding, which I can't seem to find anywhere. It doesn't help that I don't know if my bedding even exists. All I know is I want some beautiful bedding with purples and indigos and fuschias and maybe teal, with some paisley thrown in for good measure. And once I get the bedding down, then I can move on to wall art, and lamps, and floral arrangements, and candles, and all other sorts of fripperies.

Tragically, this Anthropologie bedding is perhaps the closest I've gotten to my ideal bedding, but it's no where near what I want. If any of you come across bedding that might fit my imaginary bedroom's description, please let me know. In the meantime, I might have to apply for FEMA aid.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Melissa says...

But...what if rain comes and washes the ink on the tags away?

(Of course, if it rains the day of an outdoor wedding, they've got bigger problems).

Also, I wish my handwriting looked like that. Does anyone out there practice their handwriting to make it look nicer, or am I the only Crazypants that does that?

Visit Melissa's blog at Wife in Training. Thanks for filling in for me while I'm away Melissa!

Friday, 2 July 2010

Facing your Fears

Good morning! Hope you enjoy the first of our guest series - responses to random images from my Pinterest boards by Melissa from Wife in Training!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Please welcome....Melissa from Wife in Training!!

I am in the superb chaos of house-packing for our move. My dear and new friend Melissa, fellow-blogger extraordinaire, is kindly guest-blogging for me so that you lovely readers have something to read while I am engaged profoundly in moving my family overseas.

Melissa writes a wonderful, funny, fascinating, insightful blog about her life and interests over at Wife in Training. I love her wry sense of humour, the fact that she is really well read, and that she has a unique and poignant interaction with her daily life. Also we have in common...Indiana! She fell in love with the state when living there a few years ago, and is insanely jealous that I am moving there soon.

Melissa is doing something fun for us - a series of responses to one of my Pinterest boards, kind of stream of consciousness, and a great way of getting to know her as well as comparing your response to gorgeous images.

Here is the board. Check back every day for Melissa response to each picture, and go say hi to her over at Wife in Training!

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