A couple of weeks ago a friend told me that he enjoyed taking his grandchildren to the sea front at Blyth in Northumberland. He said "They have fabulous beach huts, a great playpark and an ice cream parlour". Well the play park was of no interest to me although I was impressed when I did see it...but beach huts and ice cream parlour are five words that will get me into the car and heading for the coast.
The huts could be hired for fifteen pounds a day, they have a tiny fenced in garden to the rear and the front faces the beach.
The roof is planted with sempirvirens which will look lovely in bloom.
I would want the interior to have nautical stencils and brass lamps similar to this hotel that I decorated further along the coast.
Breakwaters stretch into the sea. They were broken, with handy holes to make arty shots through.
We walked along the sands, sat amongst the dunes and watched dogs chase things. Then it was time for fish and chips and ice cream.
Blyth is a few miles along the coast from the much busier resort of Tynemouth.
Tynemouth has a weekend flea market and some very good shops and cafes. It has a beautiful ruin of a priory and it also has a thriving surfing scene.
My mum told me she remembers swimming in this pool on her holidays to the north east. Back then Tynemouth was glamorous. It's not bad now but I would love to see the pool and the beach hotels restored in to their Art Deco splendour. They could be decorated with art deco stencils from us!
Tyneside folk are known for their ruggedness. I watched the surfers and marvelled at the hardiness of bare legged famillies building sand castles....it's early winter.
In the summer of 2011 my friend Betty from took me to Chanticleer in Wayne, Pennsylvania which is around a half hour drive from Philadelphia. It was a humid day and the temperature bubbled in the high nineties. But we had water, sensible shoes, paper fans and a picnic. We had a delightful time exploring the garden. Here is a little of what we saw.
There are many garden rooms at Chanticleer which are just that....rooms in a garden.
I call them 'sitooteries' because you sit out in them.
Stencilled chairs anyone? Similar chestnut leaf and bamboo designs can be found at The Stencil Library. There are many sitooteries at Chanticleer, I like the outdoor floral arrangements that feature in many of them.
Water is another big feature at Chanticleer, there are fountains,
and water features that mirror the sky,
I call them sky pools and have mini versions in my garden made from shallow, dark bowls.
I'll stop writing now as this is becoming a long post. I can sum up Chanticleer Garden in two words...
Chanticleer is not open every day, so please check first. I would hate you to be disappointed.
All photos my own, to see better ones visit their facebook page.
When was the last time that you did something for the first time? This was a question posed by an advert that I saw this morning. I thought that it may be an interesting thread to share.
I'll start because I had quite a few firsts last week. I visited Luxembourg for the first time.. verdict? Fab.
I had never drank Cremant which is Luxembourg's 'fizzy'.. Verdict? Also fab.
Another first was cooking on a raclette grill ..verdict? I have ordered one in the hope of cooking in the garden this summer.
I watched Britains Got More Talent for the first time. Now, I have to admit I was looking forwad to this as I rarely see TV at home... verdict? Awful and I don't want to do it again.
Played with a Wii for the first time ..verdict? Fab and silly. Who waterskis on their friends sofa whilst wearing scotty dog pyjamas?
Another first was sardines cooked on an open fire washed down by Mojitos.. for breakfast.
Verdict?.. I can't remember.
Now it's your turn.
When I visit London I like to arrive early, buy a travel pass then board a bus and see where it takes me.
Before my next trip I 'd like to buy photographer and writer Barbara Chandler’s book Love London and visit the city through her lens. I have met Barbara many times in her role as a writer and have featured her photography on this blog. This morning I was thrilled to see Barbara's work made into fabrics, digital wallpapers and other home goodies. I found them on DesignersBlock, the author Di Overton often takes her readers to wonderful London locations. I shall be in the capital next week visiting 100% Design, Decorex and Origins trade exhibitions.
I arrived in London at 6.30 yesterday morning and left at midnight. I was there to view the Grand Designs Exhibition and to meet the publicity and marketing team for our new book about stencilling. They had some interesting ideas.
I had intended to take you on a site seeing jaunt with me but the camera switched on inside my bag and used up most of the battery. So....just incase you missed highlights of last week's Royal Wedding here are a few shots outside Westminster Abbey.
When the Icelandic volcano struck in April 2010 I was in Paris and could not get home. Did I worry? No, not a lot. The airline Easy Jet looked after this refugee very well and it gave me a chance to do things in the city that I cold not usually afford time to do. The Paris tourist office offered booklets featuring walks around each quarter of the city. I was advised by the booklet where to find street art, murals, sculpture and interesting architecture. One walk took me to the Gare de Lyon; one of the many railway stations in Paris. Next week I will show you the station's murals, but now we will visit the famous restaurant at the Gare de Lyon. Le Train Bleu is no ordinary railway station restaurant and has murals of it's own to delight the visitor.
Then I remembered that my good friend Fiona celebrated a BIG birthday at Le Train Bleu.(It was a year ago today, happy birthday Fiona!) Fiona is married to a chef and they both enjoyed their meal here. I wanted to text her for her foodie recommendations. However, there was only two vegetarian choices, both sounded fab and Fiona would have ordered neither of them. So instead I asked my attendent which of the two he would chose...
"The pasta" he whispered. "The portion is bigger".
The team of attendants were lovely to me, they tolerated my attempts to speak French with humour and on hearing that I was a stranded decorative painter that writes a blog they said "photograph everything, enjoy it all" So I did. I hope that you do too.
On some of the pavements, pedestrian crossings and road markings in Versailles, Paris I saw these dribble paintings.
They were usually faces but I remember seeing writing and musical instruments in a couple of them. This was on the pavement outside my accomodation. Does any one know who the artist(s) were? Or anything about them? They appear to be drawn from one continous and skillful dribble.
I took a bus trip on Malaspina Coaches from Vancouver BC up the coast to Powell River. Vancouver is the black blob on the souvenir tea towel and Powell River is almost at the end of the red line.
The trip involves a quick plane ride or a slow bus and ferry. For a change I went the slow way, it was worth every second.
Powell River's historic town site was celebrating it's centennial whilst I was there. I know that 100 years is not a big deal in the UK but this is one of the very few working historical sites of this age in Canada. The business and homes are still occupied
and the original town was based on British Arts & Crafts style architecture. The Powell River Mill was the main employer at the time. The town site was built for the mill workers. The area was designed to be neighbourly, green, safe and a pleasure to live in. All streets lead to the ocean front and paper mill. Powell River claims first in many titles, first medical plan in BC, first direct dial telephones. At one time the Powell River paper mill rolled the highest amount of newsprint in the world on the world's fastest machines. The list goes on.
Powell River's Patricia Theatre is the oldest continually running theatre in Canada
The original artwork was under so much smoke and nicotine that the community decided to repaint using the original drawings. Local artists gave their time. I don't know whether the curtains are originals. Velvet is an interesting surface to stencil. I teach classes on the subject. To get a stencil design similar to the decorated curtains I would look first in Art Deco stencils then Arts & Crafts and possibly Art Nouveau stencils. Our True Gold stencil paint would be the perfect colour match. The Stencil Library Arts & Crafts stencil range offers a good choice of stencils to compliment homes of this age.
A customer called the other day and bought every sheet of aluminium silver leaf that we had in stock. We emptied the shop, the store room and even raided my teaching supplies to help her out. I would like to think that this is what she might be doing with it all...
The artist has painted a scene of festivity onto a silver leafed back ground. The whole thing is lacquered and shiny. Because I was photographing without flash in a dark room sans tripod only a few of my pictures were sharp enough to use but here are some details. Click on the picture to see more.
The style is art deco with a nod to Chinoiserie and exoticism. There are men riding ostriches and monkeys reading books. There is much strenuous blowing of wind instruments. The room originally resided at an hotel in Paris and is one of the many rescued rooms at the Musee Carnavalet.
I have often stencilled onto metallic leaf. The result can be stunning. I use fluid acrylic paint and if I find the the paint is not keying to the metallic surface then a tiny amount of liquid soap on the stencil brush will usually solve the problem. We will have metal leaf back in our shop any day now.....so if you fancy creating your own ball room....