just an old-fashioned girl

Hello and welcome. I'm glad you dropped by. If you´re looking for something a little nostalgic of bygone eras with a timeless elegance and a little modern twist – in other words, something slightly “retro” – then you should feel right at home here in my shabby chic room. Month by month, there will always be something new to see so I hope you´ll enjoy your stay and come back again soon.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Doggy Paddling

All the interesting and creative artwork Deb´s been showing us on her blog recently reminded me that I used to have far more time for drawing and painting. Unfortunately, most of my work was either sold or given away and I kept no record of it. Some of it though was done solely for myself. I created this one after the death of Cara, one of Dora´s predecessors. It´s from a photo and shows her paddling with her Doberman friends in a small lake near where we live. I made two versions. This one is just a sketch.

The other is more detailed and realistic than most of my artwork because I wanted to capture Cara´s lovely brindle and the wonderful sheen on her doggy friends´ coats.

The only reason I could find these so easily was because they´re the only ones I´ve framed and they stand among my other boxer memorabilia in my workroom. I´ll need to hunt to find some of my other work which hasn´t seen the light of day for a long time. If I can´t find anything I may just follow Deb´s lead and create something new.

Thanks, Deb, for reminding me that there´s more to art than designing digital scrapbook kits.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Simply Succulent

I love succulents, especially sedum, and have many different varieties in my garden and in various pots around my patio. Some have big leaves and some small, and the really tiny ones spread out rapidly until they form an uneven ragged carpet around my flowers and help to keep weeds at bay. They produce flowers of their own, from very small to quite spectacularly large, but even when they´re not flowering I think they´re very pretty and decorative.

I created this fairly simple page in celebration of the uncomplicated sedum using the floral kit I´m currently working on. It´s mainly in cool shades of aqua and various warm brown tones from dark to beige, plus gold and silver and with my usual scattering of jewels. There are also some semi-transparent frosted glass and gold glitter items like the bird which I particularly like myself so I´ve used the same style for the title. Which reminds me, the kit isn´t named yet and suggestions will be welcome. Hope you´ll like it when I finally get around to posting the preview.

PS It´s just occurred to me that the bird seems to be looking at the strange nest and its equally strange occupants and wondering who laid those eggs! And that in turn reminds me of a silly joke...What did the baby bird say when it saw an orange in its nest? Orange marmalade.

Well I did warn you it was silly!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Whole Truth!

I was just thinking that those of you who haven´t managed a summer break this year will probably be madly envious of me after watching the video and viewing my beach page both of which make my stay in Domburg appear idyllic. However, appearances can be deceptive, and in my case selective, and I feel guilty about misleading you so here´s the whole truth as it appears in various emails to friends....

We had a great holiday. Well, partly. It was mostly sunny and breezy though the weather was freaky at both ends. Herbert arrived with Dora on the first Sunday right at the start of a horrendous heatwave. It was well over 30°C and humid too which is very unusual at the coast. I left the beach soon after he arrived leaving him to play with Dora and I actually got blisters on the soles of my feet from walking barefoot on the hot sand between our beach shelter and the board-walk. The following day was more of the same. Herbert left on Tuesday - as he did every week - and the weather finally broke in the afternoon and we had some rain, after which the temperature went down to the tolerable low 20s with mostly sun and stayed like that until the Thursday of our final week. That day was sheer horror for both Dora and myself. It rained in torrents all day. Never let up, never stopped. It was accompanied by gale force 8 winds. In case you don´t know how bad that is it´s the kind of wind which makes seagulls fly backwards and almost sweeps people and dogs off their feet. It also makes every raindrop feel like a needle piercing your skin and makes your mascara run and drip off your chin. As if that combination wasn´t bad enough there were thunderstorms all day too, either directly overhead or in the near distance. Very scary and very dangerous to be out in. I only went out to let Dora relieve herself and got drenched to the skin each time. Even my expensive rain jacket and trousers got soaked through and my shoes were like wet cardboard. I had to change my socks 5 times and since I´d already given H most of my clothes to take back I actually ran out of dry socks and had to resort to retrieving some from my laundry bag. They weren´t actually dirty as I´d only worn them to the beach and back but they were stained brown from the sand but anything´s better than going sockless in wet shoes. After I ran out of those I had to find a way of drying them. I eventually came up with a solution which dried my socks and also kept us both warm (it was only 13°C and not much warmer indoors) which involved suspending my sock dryer over the four gas flames of the cooker by hooking it onto the pouch at the front of my sandwich box.

How´s that for ingenuity? Desperation? (and, before you ask, no, I won´t be scrapping that photo!) I attempted unsuccessfully to dry my jacket and trousers after each outing using my hair dryer and I used the newspaper H had left to stuff into my shoes. I had lots of sandals with me but only 2 pairs of shoes and one pair had to be kept dry for the journey home. If we´d been at home this kind of situation wouldn´t have been a problem but in a small cottage with limited facilities and few waterproof clothes...need I say more? Dora was really fed up and kept looking at me expectantly as if to say Are we going to the beach soon? Every time she got up and went to the door I opened it and we were both immediately engulfed in water and driven back a few steps by the wind. I said On you go then and she gave me a resentful look and went back to her rug. I felt really guilty. I´m sure she thought it was all my fault and I could conjure up sunshine if I really wanted to. Anyway, that day after I got bored with reading I numbed my mind by watching Nat Geo practically nonstop and learned more than I ever wanted to know about the US prison system/how not to smuggle drugs through customs unless you want to be caught/dog training/the causes of air crashes and lots more. I was glad after I´d taken DD out for her last toilet break and finally got into bed. Next morning I awoke to a clear blue sky, 22°C and a nice little breeze. Perfect! When we left the next day it was showery but cleared up as we approached the German border. In fact it was so hot and sultry that Dora started panting so badly I stopped at a service station and got her some water...at which she turned up her nose. She´s so contrary sometimes. The only thing I could do for both of us was to turn up the ventilator which is noisy but even if it doesn´t do much more than fill the car with hot outside air at least it´s loud enough to drown out the panting from the back seat. Once we got off the motorway and close to home I drove to one of her familiar walks and she brightened up, then we got back into the car and she was OK again. Sometimes I think that the panting has less to do with the heat than with stress. She doesn´t like the car and far prefers her kennel in the bus. We´ve since decided that in future we´ll all drive to Domburg and back in the bus. It´ll mean missing one day of my holiday as Herbert is busy on Saturdays but that´s OK. He´ll have to get up really early for the journey home but he says he doesn´t mind. I´m relieved about that, not only for Dora but for me as I hate driving in the Netherlands. Something frightening happens every year but I´ll spare you this year´s narrow escape. I´d just like to say - between clenched teeth - to all you folk who tow caravans (Am. trailers) please try to remember that a) you´re driving a long vehicle and b) If there´s a woman in a red Mazda already in the overtaking lane, it´s quite a good idea to signal your intention to overtake the vehicle she´s overtaking BEFORE you start, not when you´re halfway out. Almost forgot...and c) When she´s recovered from the heart attack you caused her and managed, by leaning on the horn for 20 seconds, to get you to go back to where you belong before you made a large dent in both her and her car DO NOT FLASH YOUR LIGHTS AT HER, you old fool. Get some driving lessons, pass a driving test, get a valid driving licence and throw away the one you found at the bottom of a cereal packet back in 1955.

Don´t you just love having a good rant?

Well, that was the whole truth about our holiday. You can fill in all the pleasant gaps yourself...Dora´s fun on the beach, Herbert´s fun with her, my fun with her, my fun at the weekly market etc. Nothing much changes each year although the strange weather this summer was a nasty surprise. The incident on the motorway was also nasty but no surprise.

Still envious?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dog Days In Domburg

The reason I always spend my summer holiday in Domburg is because not only is it just a 3-hour drive from here but also because I can take Dora with me. I´ve always had a dog and every one of them has accompanied me there and probably enjoyed the beach even more than I do myself though I have to say that of all the boxers I´ve had Dora is the only one who enjoys swimming. Like the others though she also loves chasing her ball along the shore, hiding it in the dunes, rearranging the sand and apparently trying to dig to Australia just to see if Bondi Beach might be a fun place too.

click to enlarge

I created this page using only the seashell freebie plus photos of Dora doing what Dora loves to do during her dog days in Domburg.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Dora On Baywatch

Presenting the new improved Baywatch series starring Fedora von Messingsberg, the ultimate canine lifeguard. Watch with bated breath as Dora plunges valiantly into the North Sea with no thought for her own safety to rescue a precious cork toy. Admire her grace, brindle beauty and elegant doggy paddling swimming technique as she battles the elements to deliver it safely to the shore...

...where, in typical Dotty Dora style, she immediately begins to tear it apart!

(Sorry about the sound quality. This is the only camera I have that doesn´t mind being drenched by Dora shaking the North Sea from her fur.)

Monday, July 18, 2011

She Sells - or gives away - Seashells

Since I got back from Domburg on Saturday, I´ve shaken the sand out of my shoes and my luggage, washed it out of my pores, my hair, my clothes and my dog...and I´m still finding gritty traces of the seashore on my floors. I had a wonderful 3 weeks on the coast but it´s nice to be home again and to be able to eat a sandwich without any sand in it.

But now comes the inevitable part of any carefree laundryfree holiday. You´ve guessed it. The dreaded IRONING. I´m off to tackle that mind-numbing task right now but before I go, for all you folk who haven´t managed a trip to the coast this year or for those who have and would like a few extra decorative elements for your seaside pages, here´s a little freebie for you.

If you´d like this Jewelled Sea add on, you´ll find it HERE.

Wish I had time to use it myself but a huge pile of wrinkled laundry is calling my name...