Wednesday, 30 July 2014

LIFE: The Summer Tag


After being tagged by Sam (a Michigander don't ya know) it would be rude to not tag (haha get it) along. Nevertheless with moving, this summer has been weird - the weather which is a little colder than normal, but still in the high 20's all the same, is throwing me off my mark. 

What's your favorite thing about summer?

Although we haven't had any - I love BBQs and summer shandy, being able to sit out into the evening, all the light for crafting. 

Do you have a favorite summer drink?

I wouldn't say I necessarily drink anything more because it's summer but I do enjoy brewing my own iced tea, adding in some lemon juice. Even adding some rum into on an evening. Oh how the Rachael ten years ago would frown at me for even thinking about drinking iced tea. How things change. 

Is there a location you prefer to go in the summer?

Back in the UK I'd say the beach, here it's more anywhere indoors with AC when it's a proper hot day. You can't really do too much when summer hits it's height. Saying that summer is the perfect time for hitting yardsales plus estate sales are everywhere on a Saturday during the summer which is always fun because you never know what you might find! 

Favorite make up look for the summer?

Makeup-less, is that a look? Urgh make up + my English heat levels + Michigan summer = not an attractive look.

Dresses or skirts?

Neither ... shorts at a push

Sandals or ballet pumps?

Actually normally shoe less in and around the house and garden, estate sales/work/gardening doesn't call for sandals, plus I hate seeing toes ewwww. 

Do you prefer to wear your hair up or down for the summer?

I vary between both - summer nights means I dry my hair naturally and it's natural curl kits back in which makes it nice enough for keeping down. But if i'm working and, or outside, it normally ends up being up, in some messy sort of way.

Deep smokey eyes or bold lips?

Even at 27, me and make up don't go well together, pass.

Favorite perfume for summer? 

Perfume actually tends to give me a headache so I stay away from it a lot of the time, but Daisy is always a winner if needs be.

Last but not least, favorite music for the summer?

Motown, summer is the perfect time for hearing those 1960's soul tunes.

I'd love to hear what your answers would be!

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

LIFE: Shores, Rocks and Walls

RogersCityMichigan RogersCityMichigan RogersCityMichiganRogersCityMichigan RogersCityMichigan

I've typed, deleted, tried to retype so many words to describe this snapshot of a random weekend in Rogers City that occurred last October .. yes really, October. It was an unexpected three night stay in a motel by Lake Huron after our car ground to a halt driving back to the 'burbs from Mackinaw City. Home seemed a long way away when you're car-less in a place not really geared for tourists. Yet it led itself as opening an opportunity of learning about a community embedded within it's local quarry and a lake - the memories of men loss and serving at the later forever remembered at the Great Lakes Maritime Museum. We treated ourselves to walks along the lake shore, delicious treats at the Chicory Cafe - a delightful organic cafe and enjoyed sitting on the balcony watching the sunrise and the sunset.

Sometimes things just happen for a reason, this was a good one.

Friday, 25 July 2014

HOME SWEET HOME: A 1950's House With Some 1950's Features


So I know ya'll dying to see inside the front door that is now our home - one that we actually first visited for an estate sale. So I thought I'd start off with some background and share some of the original features that are still to be found within. Built in the early 1950's, home was one of many built during the expansion of Detroit's southern suburbs just north of eight mile. Population growth came with the expansion by Ford of it's somewhat local, Highland Park plant alongside increasing racial tensions within the city and the post war boom.

Sixty years later and the house retains some of it's original features most obviously within the bathroom. While I love the gordy blue tiling, for many it would be a total no no. Considering the age of the tiling, it's in a really good condition - it would seem wrong to tear it down, plus it suits the house,  so we'll just be taking off the peeling wallpaper and repainting.


1950's bathrooms are recognized by their brightly coloured tiles on every wall, often in white, blue, green or pink and edged with a row of black tile trim. Bubble glass windows, black soap dishes and towel railings alongside somewhat matching floor tiling make up the final pieces of the bathroom decor.

Another typical feature of this era is the laundry chute into the basement (second photo down in this group) - although when they finished the basement ceiling it's now blocked but can probably be unblocked in the future. Throw in some original doors, hinges and door knobs, a couple of vintage tie racks for good measure and we're onto a winner. There's even an old workmen's table in the basement.

Door Chaute Ties

With owning a lot of vintage things - furniture, pictures, book and everything in between, having a vintage feel and backdrop in the house creates a great atmosphere. Everything feels like it belongs here a little more. While the old windows will eventually be replaced, I hope we end up being caring, loving caretakers to take all these original features into the future and maybe salvage and add some back in.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

BLOGGING: 5 Years of Thoughts About the Blogsphere


During that little blog break, I did a bit of thinking (not a lot because it hurts) about the whole blogging malarkey in general. What creeped into my mind? Well, everything from wondering if it was time to call it quits on blogging, why blogging is celebrated as being such a fun and loving community when on the other hand it can be as bitchy as a playground, to the role and position of blogging within my life.

As someone who is in her late 20's, out of her depth at times in another country, a wife, now with the chores of keeping up a house, with bills to pay, things to explore and working for myself, it's hard to balance everything and run a blog - which is why for me at least, this will always be just a hobby - one of many.  Yet July rolling out marks the 5th year of this space. A space to share my experiences the good and the bad. From being a student to being a Yorkshire lass in Michigan. Over five years you start to notice things. 

Like all the drama of the last couple of months, be it people bitching about each other on certain forums to twitter. Then on the other hand people declare with glee the sense of community. Not that I want to be a Debbie Downer, but there's no balance. It just doesn't sit right - if there was a super tight community, why would we then take to shamming and tearing each other apart? Agreed not everyone does this, but we always seem to find fault with each other - love hating big or small blogs, those who undertake sponsorship, those how do or do not comment, return comments and the like.

While blog chats can be a great source for networking, sharing ideas and meeting like minded people. Sometimes they all seem to be telling you to blog a certain way - you have to be in it for the money, you have to have a fancy camera, you have to be do, this, that and never ever this. Blogging seems to be full of far too many rules, especially for what is for many, a hobby. With pretty much a three week break from blog chats, I can't say I've missed them, in fact I've grown a little cynical about them.

There's too many follows for follows, too many unfollows when you don't return the favor (especially on twitter), too many comments purely left to spam a link. Where has the sharing, the commenting, the sense of pride we have in ourselves and the wider blogsphere gone? We always seem to pit ourselves against each other - the big verses the small blogger, those who accept advertising and those who don't, the younger verses the older blogger, the hobbyist verses the professional.

Blogging shouldn't and for me won't be about blogging x amount of times a week, it's not about begging for followers to meet a milestone, undisclosed sponsored posts and the like. Don't get me wrong I love blogging, I love the friends I've made through it, I love having my space to type and share - but like I mentioned previously, blogging for me is just a hobby, like cross stitching, crochet, gardening, collecting vintage stuff.

What about you? What keeps you blogging? What are you loves and hates about the blogsphere?

Monday, 21 July 2014

LIFE: The Small Things #7

Flower Magnolia

I probably should try and make these things posts a little more of a regular feature. Mainly because they give a much better snapshot of my everyday life. They come to feature the things, the photographs that you might have missed on twitter or might not otherwise ever appear on this blog. They come to cover the everyday, little events, the day to day happenings that come to make up my life.

Enough of the rambles - here's my list of the recent little things;
  • Reading - the first book I've picked up in months - black lake, pretty good so far 
  • Watching - Frankenfoods - were they mash up two foods you might not necessarily consider eating together - certainly a show for some giggles 
  • Trying - some Pinterest inspired home made bird feeders - if any bird(s) actually use it, it'll feature on here eventually 
  • Eating - tasty BBQ food samplers at the Ferndale's Pig & Whiskey (a BBQ and whiskey festival) this weekend and some yummy peach crepes from the Original Pancake House
  • Pinning - lots of ideas for making the garden bird, bee and butterfly friendly
  • Crafting - not so much - my craft box still needs unpacking
  • Going - back to using Saturdays for hitting estate sales, it's been too long!
  • Loving - owning a house, just because
  • Hoping - to get back into my work routine without being distracted too much by the garden - but after finding that I have at least one teeny tiny bar of wireless signal in the garden, maybe i'll work outside more often
  • Enjoying - some caramel flavored moonshine
  • Listening - to Weird Al's, just because
  • Thinking - and wondering why people are still letting fireworks off, two weeks since the 4th of July ...
  • Finishing - my office come craft room decorations, it'll be a work in progress for a while (need to work on storage/shelving) but finally have my vintage advertisements and postcards on the walls. 
  • Finding - that hanging picture frames is a pain in the behind
How are things with you?

Thursday, 17 July 2014



Where better to start talking about the house than in the garden - probably because there was never any boxes to unpack so I don't have to hide them away to snap photos! Having been in a one bed apartment with no outside space to call our own, I've been dreaming of trees, plants and having a little veg plot since god knows when. 

We didn't want a huge garden - mainly because of the upkeep and luckily we scored gold. The previous owner clearly lovingly cared for their garden - we've inherited numerous, even if somewhat overrun raspberry and blackberry plants, lovely sweet peas to poppies (sadly flowered for the year) to lilies. There's even a wonderful magnolia tree in the front garden which happens to sit right in front of my craft room - perfect!

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Being in the full sun, we're managing to pick off a breakfast bowl of raspberries daily, yet they are a little overrun and will need putting into place next year. The same area - behind the garage, is also where we're planning on attempting our little veg plot. Key word - attempting.

Towards the back of the house there's a large wooden deck surrounding which, is yet more raspberries and oh so much wild garlic all shaded by the age old Maple tree that stands proud in the middle of the garden.

Where there are a lot of shrubs, grasses and bushes the garden is sadly lacking in color - and with our hope to make the garden super butterfly, bee and bird friendly along with an English cottage feel, that's the mission to work on for next year starting in the fall with hopefully planting some bulbs for the spring - thinking tulips, crocuses and daffodils.


Until then i'll be pouring over some gardening books methinks. No doubt gardening posts will become a steady feature upon this blog from now on especially as I start to tackle and make it our own.

Exciting gardening adventures to come!

Monday, 14 July 2014

LIFE: On Moving In and Calling Somewhere Home


Oh my what a crazy couple of weeks that was. Remember when I hoped July would be a better month than June? Well, it's certainly been trying that's for sure. But, we are all moved into our first house, even if it didn't go as planned.

Being a holiday weekend (we moved over the 4th July weekend) most people already had plans, so we were left moving everything pretty much alone. That was until Joe took a tumble and landed all funky on his ankle which hit a concrete barrier for good measure - as you do. After bravery soldiering on for the afternoon, we ended up going to ER which resulted in taking home a pair of crutches and Joe being off work for the next two weeks.

In the end we had to hire in some help to shift the heavier pieces of furniture (we used College Hunks Hauling Junk which i'd highly recommend) and after four days of trying, numerous trips back and forth, attempting to clean our old apartment and handing in the keys, we were all moved.

The house itself is marvelous. It's so nice having space - so much space I'm not sure were to put everything. It's quiet, we have raspberry and blackberry bushes in the garden in addition to sweet peas and so many pretty lilies. It's quiet, it's peaceful and it's starting to feel like home even if I felt overwhelmed at how much stuff we had to unpack many a time.

Over a week in and we're still unpacking - it's pretty much endless, or just endlessly moving boxes around until they find a new home - the basement works well for that challenge at least. The garden (pictured above - well the deck part is) is a little unruly - i'm longing for a somewhat cooler day to really get to grips with it all. It's nice to have yet another reason to go to estate sales (like we needed another reason) but it's a great way of picking up garden equipment on the cheap - like a $2 spade. Sorted!

In fact the move seems to have been the right thing for the kitties too - they seem so much more at peace with each other and happier in themselves, perhaps it's because there's three kitties over the road that they can glare at and a couple of friendly looking squirrels that run up and down the magnolia tree throughout the day.

Either way, I'm glad we managed to find this house, for us all. We're still somewhat in the midst of unpacking, but I can't wait to share some more photographs of the place once everything is more in place!

Home ownership suits us.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

LIFE: House Keys and a [Blog] Break

The papers are all signed.

The keys are in hand.

The mountain of boxes to be moved keeps piling up.

But .... finally, finally, finally we have our house. 

Our very first home.

No more renting - yeeey. 

The keys, the walls, the front door, our garden are the results of two years of improving credit scores and saving, of messing up with the first house we tried to buy and getting it just right the second time. We signed the papers a mere six weeks after viewing the house - which when you consider all the paperwork is very quick. 

So before I leave y'all for a short July break during our move and settling in, I'd take a look back at a post I did in March

Back in March I outlined our four main must haves, we pretty much hit the nail on the head;
  1. 3 bedrooms - yeap it has that, granted one is a walk through but that's perfect for converting it into our vinyl room. 
  2. Basement - it has one and it's 3/4 finished which is a big deal and a big help
  3. A decent garden - possibly a teeny tiny bit smaller than what I would have liked but it has a wonderful deck, a great old tree and a magnolia tree in the front, and it has been cared for over the years - I can't grumble too much
  4. At least 1000 sq feet - I don't remember what it is bang on, but it's certainly larger than 1000, has a huge kitchen, two living rooms and with the basement, plenty of room to grow into
Over the next couple of years the house will be our project, things here and there need updating, some redecorating, one bathroom is stuck in the 50's the other in the 70's although saying that the 70's wallpaper is really funky, funky enough I want to save some of it. There's the American love for wood panelling in places, it needs some new windows and such but it's bones are sound.

Oh and it has a fireplace, for an actual proper wood fire although it probably needs a date with a chimney sweep.

I was expecting to be internetless for weeks (as is often in the case in the UK when you move) but actually the cable guys coming the day after the moving day - which is grand by me. While I plan to have the next two weeks off this blog - from the publishing part at least, you'll most likely still see me commenting and certainly still tweeting. I just need a break from the publishing - we all do at times. Hopefully I can come back refocused and revived for the 5th birthday of this space without the stress of stats and numbers.

So enjoy the next two weeks - get outside in the sun, have some summer shandy's, start up the barbecue and relax.