DIY magnetic poster rails

Lovely contemporary posters are easy to find and cheap to buy. I picked up two botanical illustrations that were being sold as wrapping paper at Cambridge Botanical Garden but present indicative has a brilliant range. I wanted to keep them light and hang them using poster rails rather than framing them. Posters rails I discovered are not cheap. I didn’t want to be paying over £30 to hang my £3 posters. So I made my own and you can too. This project cost me £11.06 and was a very easy afternoon project.

I bought 2 lengths of decorative edging/dowel at my local hardware shop. It’s cheap as chips at less than £2 for a 2.4 meter lengrh. For each poster you wish to hang you will need 4 lengths of wood the width of your poster. My posters were 50cm wide. I cut the wood into 55cm lengths so there was a little over hang at either end. 1 length of wood was enough to hang 1 poster.

I chose to stain my wood with some varnish I had left over from another project to match the console table the posters are going to hang above. Painting or varnishing the wood is optional.

I didn’t paint my nails for this photo I’m just the kind of person who is stupid enough to paint her nails and then go varnish some wood.

Once varnished or painted cut the wood to the length you want and sand the ends so they are smooth and even.

Stick magnetic tape (you’ll need tape with both polarities so it sticks to itself) cut to the same length as your poster is wide to the inside of each piece of wood. On one of the rails attach some fine string, cord or braid so you can hang your posters. You should have 4 equal lengths that look like this.

Sandwhich your poster between the 2 rails ensuring the rail with the string is at the top of your poster. Hang using a picture hook then Stand back and admire your handy work. You could Sandwhich 2 posters between the rails so you can flip the rail over and have different art work whenever you fancy a change.

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April favourites

April was not as warm as it sometimes is but neither was it wet. Easter was gloriously hot and sunny but after that the sunshine seemed to allude us.

Every moment we could spare we spent at the allotment and our efforts were rewarded with the first crop of rhubarb. We have weeded and mulched the whole plot. Planted summer fruiting raspberries and a second blue berry bush.

At home we have sown sweetcorn, zinnias, white cosmos, dhalia’s. Pumpkins, carrots, sunflowers, courgettes, a cucumber and tomatoes and will transplant them out at the allotment when they are bigger and the water is finally switched on down there.

We visited Sir Issac Newton’s birth place at Woolsthorpe Manor in Lincolnshire. The children enjoyed the excellent science centre very much and I was inspired by the display of snakes head fritillary that had been naturalised under the tree’s in the famous apple orchard. In the autumn I think i will get some bulbs and do the same under our walnut tree.

Every April this beautiful rambling rose flowers against the old houses at the top of the High Street in our village. It puts on quite a display. Rosa Banksia Lutea is a prolific rambler with very little scent that only flowers once but it puts on such a show when it does flower. Every year it stops me in my tracks. I am delighted to say I have successfully managed to take a cutting from it which is now 2 years old and growing healthily.

In praise of advent

I wanted to bring you a little advent project and share with you why advent is so important to me.  So in this season of business, of sparkle, of mince pie making, present wrapping, card writing and nativity costume making may I invite you to make yourself a cup of tea and enjoy a moment of quiet and reflection with me.

Advent seems to be  forgotten season/tradition the first of December arrives and its up with the decorations, out with the Christmas jumpers and boom Christmas is here. As a Christian advent is one of my favourite seasons, the waiting, the anticipation, the savouring, the preparation. I enjoy all these things … dare I say it…more than he big day itself. I hope what I write doesn’t sound like a sermon, that’s not my intention.  I simply wish to share a few of he things that help us as a family to savour this precious season each year. I do an advent calendar for my children. We have one of those cloth advent calendars with the pockets.  I do include the occasional sweet treat but I’ve always tried to make it a little more meaningful too.  One year we had a calendar of random acts of kindness I included thing like donating toys to charity, writing a letter to a friend, holding a door open for someone and we had a lot of fun doing it. In fact my children got quite competitive about who could complete their act first, or be most generous.  When my girls were very young they had a snippet of the Christmas story and a wooden nativity piece to add to the stable each day. In other years we’ve had  bible verse or Christmas activity each day  We’ve had a lot of fun and I have found these traditions bring meaning, joy and anticipation to the season of advent.  This year however, Granny showed up with a chocolate Frozen themed advent calendar and a Thomas the tank engine one for my son – I was frankly horrified. My children where amazed such things existed (7 years I’ve kept it a secret that other children get chocolate for breakfast during December)  and of course absolutely ecstatic. Once I reigned in my slightly over the top reaction to the chocolate advent calendars & accepted that my beautiful cloth advent calendar would just have to stay in the loft this year I set about trying to think of a simple way to  capture the true meaning of advent in our home this December.

My plans (and this post) were delayed when I spent most of the first week of December in hospital with my son, Beau who had just turned 2 and has Asthma.  That first night in hospital my son was absolutely buzzing with all the medication he had needed and at 8pm (way past his usual bedtime) I was feeling tired and emotional after what had been a difficult and long day. I’d read him every book in that place. Feeling unable to face yet ANOTHER tale of Apple Tree Farm or round of Dig, Dig Digging I got out the Gideon’s bible that the Gideon society place by every hospital bed. I began reading  the story of the birth of Jesus from Mathews gospel. I got no further than 5 versus in and Beau was asleep, at that moment it felt like a miracle – definitely an act of God, I was so relieved. I continued reading and took in all that wondrous story with a very grateful heart. So familiar is that story and yet I so rarely find the time to stop and read it in the busyness of December the words seemed new to me.  They stayed with me that week. My son now asleep I tired to make myself as comfortable as possible (not easy in a hospital) I watched Kirstie’s Homemade Christmas (I love that program) and flicked through a Christmas copy of Country living magazine – oh comfort and joy! Stuck in hospital away from all the distractions of home although not where I wished to be actually gave me a unique opportunity to just be.  To savour and slow down. Both the magazine and the television program full of beautiful images and lovely ideas for Christmas reminded me of the words from the Christmas song “Joy to the world”

“Let every heart prepare him room

And Heaven and nature sing…”

 Over the following few days as we left hospital and we continued to nurse my son back to health and make sense of that strange other worldly experience that is staying in hospital. Gradually an idea for making advent meaningful for all in our home came to me. It is wonderfully simple (well it needed to be with a very poorly tot to care for), not in any way original or new but it has given us pause for reflection this year.

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4 candles, some black paper and chalk, some raffia string, foraged foliage and some clementine’s and apples I sliced and baked in a very low oven for a few hours. I created this advent centre piece for our dining table.

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We have marked the Sundays of advent (Peace, Hope, Joy and Love) we have lit our candles at our evening meal every day and included a simple prayer on the theme in our usual mealtime grace. Next Sunday when we light the final candle we will put our decorations up.  AND eat gingerbread and Christmas will really be here but only once we have reflected on the meaning of Peace, Hope, Joy and Love.

November Styling the seasons

Its been a while since I’ve shared a styling the seasons post on here. Its a monthly photography challenge hosted by Katy & lotts. I have enjoyed the opportunity to slow down & notice the subtle changes from month to month that this challenge affords.  It has inspired our nature tray that I have posted about and which the children always help with.

November certainly is a month of chance. It begins in Autumn but by its end there I no denying winter I here. There’s bonfire night & pumpkins galore at its start & now its almost over the hustle and bustle of Christmas is all around. I wanted to reflect this in my pictures & tried a floral flat lay in a wreath arrangement. I included glitter to reflect both Christmas and fireworks night & the last of my munchkin pumpkins was tucked in there. November is a tricky month for taking photos and the light was all wrong.  So I went back to the drawing board & decided to channel a little more Hygge in my flat lay. (Have you heard of hygge? f not read about this fabulous Danish ideal here) My favourite cosy blanket, a candle & pumpkins provide just the right amount of cosy.  The foraged berries give a nod to Christmas, without being over the top. I like its pale subtle Christmas vibe & for me it captures November pretty well.

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Styling the Seasons May

Last month my styling the seasons post went horribly wrong, broken glass all over a freshly spring cleaned room! I posted an image on instagram but I wasn’t entirely happy with it and I never wrote it up here.  I think I was just trying to say too much and do too much and so this month I’m keeping it really simple. Styling the seasons has really helped me to think about each month and what it means to me. To embrace slow living and appreciate the subtle changes in nature month by month rather than more generally each season.  I wanted a way to share this with the rest of the family, my children especially.  I saw an idea for a nature table and loved it, my nature loving 4 year old would just adore one however with a toddling 16 month old it just wasn’t practical.  Over Easter I was clearing out some decorations and found this little tray.  Perfect for a little mood board or…a nature tray!  So here it is each month the children and I gather little items to reflect the changing season.  Items may be replaced and refreshed throughout the month as new things catch our eye & the little tray sits in our living room for all to enjoy (although out of reach of Beau’s mischievous little fingers).

I do love May, spring is truly here and the flowers are almost at their very best.  May excites me as a month.  It begins with the romantic May day full of tradition and legend and nature.  This year we made May day posies and my girls enjoyed washing their face in the morning dew so much they did it twice. And whats not to like about two bank holidays in one month.  I do hope you enjoy our nature tray.

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Our nature tray for May’s styling the seasons featuring blossom, a Robins egg, a feather, bluebell, late snowdrops, box leaves and a catkin.

Styling the Seasons March

March is a funny month. Technically its spring but as far as the weather is concerned its still winter.  There is however so much promise and hope of warmer weather.  Blossom on the tree, bulbs in the garden, longer days and those bright trumpets heralding spring, the daffodil.  One thing I have really enjoyed this month is watching (and hearing) the birds returning from their winter vacation.  I do so love bird song and so my styling the season post for march is an ode to birds, and blossom.  I chose to style this little copper wire basket.  I picked it up at Tiger after Christmas, I loved its quirky style.  I may spray paint it a sweet pastel colour as it reminds me of a little bird house.  Initially i was thinking of injecting lots of colour into my vignette with daffodils and pastel coloured pom poms but a lovely friend bought me some beautiful blossom branches and this is what evolved.  I think the cooler tones reflect the cool weather and yet the bird and blossom say spring.

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Styling the seasons – February

Here we are in February, my least favorite month of the year. It is endlessly grey and cold and the warmer weather seems a distant prospect. Then we have this delightful little day in the middle of the month all about love and pink and little hearts and flowers. I love how girly it is. So I’ve decided a light and airy valentines vignette on my living room bookcase would bring a smile to my face when skies are grey.  Yet again I struggled enormously with lighting my photo’s this grey month & I am still not happy with my results.

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Sadly you can’t read the titles of the books. they are Love Letter of Great Men and Love Letters are Great Women. A valentines gift I bought my husband a couple of years ago, he didn’t take the hint in fact I don’t think he’s read them. Romantic gifts for men are so tricky.  This year I have decided to live by that old phrase “the way to a mans heart is through his stomach”.  I’ll be making truffles for my husband.

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Happy valentines day to you all.