England, Studio on the Corner Etsy Shop

Falling in Love with the Lake District

Oh where to begin….the journey to Windermere was fraught with anxiety & nerve-wrenching exhaustion, but once there we parked the car & did not get back in until it was time to travel to the next destination. Instead, we took Sharon’s advice.

In the middle is Sharon, one of the very helpful people we met in England.

We were happy to gaze out the window at the mountains of the Lake District & also stopping to get a closer look at some of the more interesting points of interest in the area instead of navigating ourselves down narrow, winding roads closed in on both sides by stone walls or hedgerows

welcoming us to….

The Lake District copy

The loveliest spot man hath found

 

Two things I love: 1. Dogs/animals of all kinds   2. Flowers of all kinds

Everywhere we went in England we saw both in an astonishing number in the most unexpected places, but the Lake District, Hawkshead in particular, seemed to have both in happy, beautiful abundance.

We took a Mountain Goat bus tour, Heart of the Lakes, to see as much of the Lake District as we could with so little time. Our bus driver was fantastic, a story teller & fearless driver. As he drove he pointed out landmarks of interest, gave us names of fells. I must confess, I love English names of places & things, like the word fell. It has a romanticism to it, perhaps because it’s so new to me. According to the Oxford English dictionary, a fell is an old English word that means a hill or stretch of high moorland, especially in Northern England. Though the fells in the Lake District are not that high, they have a rugged, lonely feel that adds to their majestic mystery. Sheep graze on grasses that grow up the craggy sides of the mountains & hills.  It’s open range farming called fell farming & since we were there in May lambs were cavorting across the meadows & pastures. It was just about as charming a sight as can be seen.

The Lake District, Cumbria UK Photo taken by MJ

 

Everywhere the stone walls crawl over the countryside, up & down hills with the fells in the background. Photo by Teresa O

Taken from the window of a moving bus the 2 photos above tell the story of hills & farming. Herds of hearty sheep, the Herdwick breed promoted by Beatrix Potter, wander the hills & dales as part of the National Trust’s promise to Beatrix. In her will she left acres & acres of farms & robust countryside to the National Trust to be protected from commercialism that may have destroyed the breath-taking views & rural life of this treasured part of England. Today the main industry in this region of England, called Cumbria, is fell farming & tourism.

We held our breath as we squeezed through the smallest of roadways, skinny branches of the hedgerows scratching the windows. I loved it!

Our first stop…   

 

Once upon a time around the year 1840 a wealthy doctor wanted to build his wife a grand home filled with the romance of chivalrous knights, fair maidens & courtly love. So Wray Castle rose up on a hill overlooking Lake Windermere. It has all the ambiance of a gothic novel, but Dr. Dawson’s wife found the place to be hideous & never spent one night in the johnny-come-lately castle that is now a popular site for visitors. It’s easy to dream of another world, but truth is it’s not old by European standards where buildings have been standing in the same place for over a thousand years.

Wray Castle Photo by MJ
Inside Wray Castle Photo by MJ
From behind a stone wall at Wray Castle

 

The ceiling in the music room now gift shop Photo by MJ

Inside, the ceiling in what was once the music room now a gift shop, was an eye-catcher. One of the volunteers struck up a conversation with me & we shared a bit about farming in our countries. We both laughed when we said we raised Black Angus cattle. Her farm hilly & filled with history; the farm where I raised my children as flat as a pancake & filled with the family history of my ex-husband. I could have sat & had a cup of tea, nibbled on a scone & talked with this lady for hours, but sojourners were getting on the bus & our time at Wray Castle over.

Off we went down more crazy, wonderful roads with stunning views on both sides. So many photos didn’t happen as we traveled along…the gigantic exposed roots of trees that surely houses fairies, sprites, & elves. I failed to capture that mournful, dark feeling of a primal forest, so old & so full of stories. I missed the babbling brooks that skittered over stones, the rugged hikers trekking from one village to another through the woods, over hills, & along waterways. There was so much to see, so much to take in & my mind rushed forward with so many thoughts. Did I take enough time to truly let it all soak in? Did I look with eyes wide-open & appreciate every nuance? I think I did because there was no lack of tears when something so magical would occur & that magic might be nothing more than a thought that I was very near the settings of some of my favorite books…Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, for one. A long held dream coming true is sure to overwhelm & it did…just ask MJ.

Late in the afternoon we pulled into a little stop where a sign said it all…

Photo by MJ

We stopped for a just a few minutes at Hill Top Farm the house that Beatrix Potter loved so well. When we got off the bus we noticed a gathering across the way & like 2 little girls with their noses pressed against the window of a toy shop, MJ and I stood watching the group that we were supposed to be a part of. We both felt a bit sad that we were not able to attend, but nonetheless we both got photos of the picnic at Castle Cottage with author & water colorist Susan Branch.

MJ’s photo shows a bit of the house, which I like very much, as well as the diminishing picnickers.
Photo by Teresa O

You can read about Castle Cottage picnic on Susan’s blog. Just click HERE. It was a marvelous day, I’m sure, filled with all the quaintness of a Beatrix Potter illustration, but a blustery day that was quite chilly. I didn’t get to attend & perhaps seeing the group made the hurt just a bit deeper, but no matter, there was time to take a quick jaunt through the garden. We would be back tomorrow to see the house, spend all the time we wanted in the gardens, & walk the road to a pub for a bite.

Back on the bus we were off for a longer stop.

Here I found the England that I knew from books, movies, & PBS!

We ventured up a little hill & to a closer look at Hawkshead Grammar School where Williams Wordsworth (1770-1850) studied & grew up to write some of the loveliest poems. The first stanza of Daffodils written in 1802 certainly makes me think of the Lake District now & surely Wordsworth’s inspiration.

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Just a quick peek into the school room & then MJ & I parted ways. I spied an iron gate & headed toward it to discover a magical, mystical site….
Beyond the gate stood grave stones, time-worn & weathered from the years & standing proudly on top of the hill, part of St. Michael and All Angels church. The people of Hawkshead have been making the walk up the hill to worship since the 12th century. The building has changed, been added to, revamped, but it remains a wonderful testament to the ingenuity & persistence of the human race. No one described this beautiful landmark in a better way than William Wordsworth, who attended the church,
I saw the snow-white church upon her hill
Sit like a throned lady sending out
A gracious look all over her domain’
– The Prelude by William Wordsworth
Beautiful photo by MJ
One more because that’s how much I loved this very old place
Another wonderful photo by MJ
The inside was just as grand as the exterior & even more amazing that it continues to be a place of worship.
Photo by MJ
After spending so much time soaking in the age & wonder of St. Michael and All Angels church on the hill I had just enough time to get back to the bus to continue the tour. Want to know more? There’s lots of information about this glorious place but here’s a start….click HERE  Check out the cobblestoned village Hawkshead, too
Back on the bus we were once again on narrow roads that wound upward into fells. Our driver pointed out the Old Man of Coniston, the Langdales, & what one fellow claimed to be the most beautiful point in England, Tarn Hows (more about that tomorrow). I’m so glad we took the drive…it was a great way to see this spectacular part of England.
Down the hill & back to our Airbnb we went, still tired from our drive the day before. We dined on leftover fish & chips that we were too tired to eat the night before & mapped out the next day. I slept happy that night, content with what I saw & knowing that tomorrow would be even better. I was going to tour Hill Top farm & for just a small moment in time be part of a world where Peter Rabbit hopped, little mice sewed a brocade coat & ran out or cherry twist, & Mrs. Tiggy Winkle would find a new home in Ohio.
Regaling you with my momentous trip is taking longer than I expected. There’s so much I want to share.  Did my trip to England inspire me to create? Absolutely! I have a new invitation listed at Studio on the Corner Etsy shop
& I’ve created a whole collection of items under the title A Ginger Piggery Party! The collection will include: invitation, candy wrappers, cookie bag, banner, cupcake topper, & more. I’m trying to work out an adorable centerpiece that can be printed, cut out & assembled. There are so many inspirational moments that I’m hoping to transform into printables & papers, maybe a scrapbook kit.  Only time will tell.
Look for a tutorial coming out in the near future. It’s all about putting your own creative touches on printables.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Junk Journal, Life Changes, Studio on the Corner Etsy Shop

Changes

Life is all about changes, isn’t it? Our bodies change, we go through phases, we transition. Life wouldn’t be much of a journey if we didn’t change.  For 13 years I’ve had the privilege & gift of being what I fondly call the nanny-granny to my wonderful grandson. Living with my daughter & this remarkable young man has brought a plethora of emotions & the reality that sometimes a mom & her daughter butt heads, don’t agree & always find a way back into the heart of each other. If someone asked me, “What do you do?” My first response, “I’m a mom & mimi (mimi = grandma).  Things are about to change in a big way!

I am proud of my daughter & son, both are type A personalities, go getters who get things done. As the nanny granny I took care of the little man while  his mama worked hard to carve out a career in marketing. The time has come when he doesn’t need a nanny granny anymore & his mom is taking a huge step in her life…they are moving & I will physically stay where I am.  With this change in my life comes an absolute….Studio on the Corner must become a thriving, successful business. It’s what I want, it’s what I need, it is my heart’s desire. No longer can I say I am mom & mimi, even though I am, no I must now declare myself a business owner & digital designer. When someone asks, What do you? The answer must be concise & on point:

Elevator speech copyIt’s not a perfect elevator speech & I want people to know that I put my customers first, always & forever. Studio on the Corner wants to make your life a bit easier & more lovely in small, perhaps not so important ways. However, if you’ve ever been pressed for time & need something like a gift tag now, it’s nice to know that within a few minutes you can purchase, download, print….stress level lowered.

So as I maneuver through this big change, momentous-for-me transition I hope you won’t mind that I use this platform as something of a sound board.  I gotta say, this will not be easy for a 60 something woman, but I’m willing to share this journey into the next phase of my life. Come join me ‘cuz sometimes I know I’ll need a shoulder to cry on, a bit of a confidence boost & someone to listen & who knows, it may help you too if you are facing a change in your life.

mother hubbard w poodle

Yep, come June it’s gonna be just my little friend, Winston, the mini poodle, & me.  Oh & I can’t forget the aging grand dame, Miss Adventure.

The Studio on the Corner has been busy with a folder full of works in progress. Adorable papers extracted from a charming book all in soft green-blue color….think pale teal will be listed soon. The papers will eventually be joined by images to create wall prints for the home focusing on the rooms of children. There will be much more about the wall art later.

Blue Paper image for blog

The Flower Gathering junk journal kit is going to become a Mother’s Day bundle at a reduced price for the occasion. It’s a perfect bundle for moms & grandmas who love to create art&/or junk journals & smash books. Included in the kit are papers, tags, pockets, journal cards, & word art. All ready to be printed & cut to become part of an artful, old-time journal. Wondering how to give such a gift? How about placing all the folders & files on to a CD or DVD. You’ll have something to wrap.  Don’t forget a gift tag!

There’s so much more, but that’s enough for this lovely Friday in April. the countdown has begun here with less than two weeks to England! I’m so excited, but there’s much to do.

Have a grand day!

Studio on the Corner Etsy Shop

Yesterday’s Child, a Dream

Do you mind if I do a bit of a free thought writing? I’m thinking about opening another Etsy shop. Creating something new from old, often long-forgotten images brings me contentment & joy. I don’t know why exactly, but it does. Getting back to Etsy shops…Studio on the Corner leans toward more adult type images & themes, which I truly enjoy, but I have hundreds of child-like images just waiting in the wings to be called on to the stage. From old books in my possession to found images there are the sweetest, funniest images imaginable.

Number

That’s how many images sit waiting to be used within the folder marked CHILDREN!

There are silly images

Toad Car

A frog driving a frog car!

There are classic images…

28-tb

Yes, Beatrix Potter’s original images are now in the public domain so it’s ok if Mrs. Tiggy Winkle holds court on a tag or card.

A few sad images are in the folder…

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Poor little dog with his feet chewed up.

Fantastical images…

storyofmincepie00gate_0027

Where the salt & pepper shakers are children!

Images for boys….

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And images of girls..

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And I haven’t begun to tell you about the books on my shelves filled with wonderful pictures just waiting to be scanned in & added to my precious collection. Sooo….what to do?

You may notice all these images have something in common. You’ll find no Disney characters or the crazy storylines of precocious kids. These are images that yesterday’s child read about in books & very old magazines, the first of their kind for wee readers. I wonder if any of this would even appeal to today’s very busy, techno savvy child? Is there a place for quiet moments with simple lined images, soft from age colors, & the simpler things life has to offer? I just don’t know.

I do know that if I decide to open a second shop, I’ll do it differently. The shop will have a nice selection of printables including greeting cards, gift tags, prints to frame, party elements & decor before turning on the light. I also know that this will not happen before heading to England in May or in the next couple months. This will take some time, if it happens at all.  I’d love go hear your input, ideas, or maybe just something you’d like to see in a vintage shop geared toward children.

If & when Yesterday’s Child becomes a reality, you’ll be one of the first to know!

Tulip Border copy

A few new listings are in Studio on the Corner Etsy Shop.  The three listings, papers, recipe cards, & tabbed dividers for recipe boxes are all about French Country or Provencal inspired with colorful roosters & bits & pieces of French ephemera & iconic images like sunflowers & fleur de lis. Stop in & take a peek.

maison de ferme image for blog

Take a closer at the recipe cards, tabbed dividers, & also papers at the following links:

Maison de Ferme Papers

Maison de Ferme Tabbed Dividers

Maison de Ferme Recipe Cards 

Have a fantastic weekend & may you have sunny skies & no snow!

My Printed Signature